Tackling Food Waste? France is Streets Ahead

A victory in the fight against waste. On Thursday May 21, the French National Assembly – the lower house of the French Parliament – unanimously adopted three amendments to an energy transition law, laying down measures to tackle food waste in large supermarkets. These measures mean that large supermarkets and shopping centers will no longer be able to throw away unsold produce that is still edible.


From now on, they will have to give such produce to associations that redistribute it to those in need. Anyone who does not comply with the law will be liable to a fine of up to 75,000 euro and two years’ imprisonment. The law is being complemented by initiatives establishing food education programs in schools so that children can start to learn about the value of food as soon as they start their education. While many have welcomed the law, of course there are those who do not agree with it. The Commerce and Retail Federation for example has argued that “the law is wrong”, as “only 5% of wasted food comes from supermarkets and large retail”.


Supposing that were true, why throw away even 5%?


The situation regarding food waste in Europe is not just an issue for France. Countries across the continent urgently need to take action. According to estimates for Italy in 2014 for example “the economic value of national food waste was 8.1 billion euro. Two million tonnes of food are lost in industrial processing and 300,000 tonnes in distribution. Food left in the field amounts to 1.4 million tonnes: 3% of national agricultural production.” (source: La Repubblica)


Speaking about the new law, Slow Food International President Carlo Petrini said:


“This decision of the French Parliament, which I hope will be repeated in Italy, is a sign of how communities should react to this shame, because we are talking about millions and millions of tons of edible food, when starvation still exists on this planet,” adding, “I am happy that this practice has been recognized as a crime, and I am doubly happy because alongside the law there will be the chance to pass on this principle to the younger generation through education.”


Let’s hope other countries follow suit.


Translated and edited from an original article written by Michela Marchi (Slow Food Italy)

Source  La Repubblica


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