this study identified trends in the prevention and handling of liquid, solid and gaseous wastes, both toxic and non-toxic, in the venezuelan agro-foodstuff industry. information related to identification of waste emissions, including those of a toxic nature, the area where they are produced, and preventive, treatment and control measures, was obtained through a questionnaire and complemented by interviews carried out in 129 industries distributed in the six geographical regions of venezuela and which represented the main productive branches of the sector. results show that even while some enterprises are making efforts to minimize the environmental impact of industrial waste, where mention should be made of the incorporation of preventive measures such as waste segregation, placement of traps or sieves, control of leaks and spills, changes in cleaning methods, changes in the handling of waste products, on the whole the sector is weak as far as waste handling is concerned, especially the smaller companies. although several types of waste emission are recognized, a relatively high number of the industries included in the study admit that such emissions may occur without any form of control whatsoever. corrective action (treatment using conventional technologies) outweighs preventive action. however, interesting recycling processes involving sub-products and waste are also being used in some companies. the creation and consolidation of specific management structures arise as key elements to advance in an integrated productive approach that, improving the productivity assures, among others, an adapted environmental performance of the sector.