France Takes a Bite Out of Food Waste

posted: 05/26/15
by: Danny Clemens
Vegetable section in the department store

The French parliament passed a law late last week that cracks down on the rampant food waste taking place in the country, requiring grocery stores to donate unsold food to charity.

The legislation aims to reduce the 7.1 million tons of food discarded in France each year. Under the new law, supermarkets will face a hefty government find if they are found to be destroying unsold food -- a common practice. According to Al Jazeera, many supermarkets were found to be dousing unsold food in bleach to dissuade dumpster divers from salvaging discarded sustenance.

Instead, grocers must donate the goods to a charity or, if the food is not edible, funnel the foods to farms, where it will be composted.

"There's an absolute urgency - charities are desperate for food. The most moving part of this law is that it opens us up to others who are suffering," said French National Assembly member Yves Jego.

In addition to feeding the hungry, the law also aims to crack down on the amount of food that ends up in landfills. According to the United Nations, global food waste is responsible for 3.3 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Supermarkets, however, are not happy with the legislation. "The law is wrong in both target and intent, given the big stores represent only 5% of food waste but have these new obligations," Jacques Creyssel, of the Federation du Commerce et de la Distribution, told The Guardian.

Click here to learn more from The Guardian


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