IN FRANCE, if a supermarket throws out or destroys unused food its operators could face fines of €75,000 or two years in jail. Instead the food must be donated to charities or else used for animal feed. According to The Guardian, “the law follows a grassroots campaign in France by shoppers, anti-poverty campaigners and those opposed to food waste. The campaign, which led to a petition, was started by the councillor Arash Derambarsh.” As of Wednesday the practice of throwing out unspoiled food has to stop. All grocery stores with a footprint larger than 4305 square feet will need to sign contracts with charities or face the penalties. This same law will also introduce food education programs for schools and businesses.
The food waste problem
In the video below food waste campaigner Tristram Stuart present some disturbing facts, such as:
- Globally, over 800 million go hungry.
- Globally, we waste 1/3 food produced.
- In the US, one in four Americans struggle to buy food.
- In the US, over 30% — around $160 billion worth — of food is wasted by grocery stores and their customers.
- Food production is the single largest impact we have on nature.
- Farmers can’t sell half of what they produce because of strict supermarket standards.
- As consumers we buy more than we need and regularly throw away perfectly good food because of overcautious date labels.
- Restaurants overproduce to ensure everything on their menus is always on hand, and portion sizes are too large resulting in a lot of leftover waste.
It’s well past time that we did something to combat this major issue. Good for you France for leading the way.