France's New Law Requires Supermarkets to Donate Unsold Food

This pioneering bill is paving the way for important food waste reform.

Feb 22, 2016

Tags:

France, Food, Reform, Law, Waste
Produce in supermarket

France's new bill looks to reduce the 7.1m tonnes of food that is wasted annually in the country (Shutterstock)

When it comes to food waste reform, one country is stepping up to the plate - and recently hit a homerun. Thanks to a new law, France now requires large supermarkets to donate unsold food to charities and food banks. This food, which would otherwise go to waste, will now become millions more free meals for people that are struggling to eat.The new law also prohibits supermarkets from deliberately spoiling unsold food, a practice carried out in the past to discourage people from foraging in supermarket garbage bins. 

In recent years, there have been several initiatives aiming to get between the grocer and the garbage in attempts to salvage food that would otherwise go to waste. From non-profit grocery stores to restaurants that compost their waste, these programs try to make the most of unused and unsold food. But France is the only country to institute such programs to the national level - so far.

The bill, which applies to supermarkets that are at least 4,300 square feet, also means that charities will have access to better quality and more diverse foods, thereby increasing the nutritional value of the food they distribute.

This landmark bill puts France in the lead when it comes to combating food waste. Let’s hope other countries follow suit.

Way to go, France!

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Mirele writes about everything related to doing good, with a particular interest in volunteering and social entrepreneurship, informed by her background in eco tourism.