french supermarkets donate food waste new law
french supermarkets donate food waste new law

Just Passed: Supermarkets in France Now Must Donate Unsold Food To Charities

The French are taking a huge step towards drastically reducing food waste as well as poverty. Under the new law which just passed, French supermarkets will be forbidden to throw away or intentionally spoil food and will be forced to donate it to charity instead.

In an unheard and unfathomable move for majority of lawmakers around the world, the French national assembly just voted unanimously to pass a law that seeks to combat the global issue of food waste and poverty. There seems to be a tremendous gap between food waste and those who are struggling to find a bite to eat. After an unlikely cross-party consensus, the centre-right deputy Yves Jego commented on the new law saying: “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.”

Tons and tons of food are dumped as new fresh batches roll in and some supermarkets even intentionally spoil perfectly edible food to prevent foraging in their nearby dumpsters. The new law prohibits intentionally spoiling their food and is forcing all supermarkets with a footprint of at least 4,305 sq ft (400 sq m) to sign contracts with charities to donate the leftover food or face the consequences. For those choosing not to obey the law,  it can cost up to $75,000 or two years in jail.

A trolley with foodstuffs is displayed on November 28, 2014 in front of Paris' city hall during the launch of the 30th collection for food banks. As every year, 125,000 volunteers recognizable by their orange vests, collect goods in 9,000 supermarkets throughout France. AFP PHOTO / ELIOT BLONDET (Photo credit should read ELIOT BLONDET/AFP/Getty Images)

It began as a local campaign, started by Councilman Arash Derambarsh, which claimed that “10 million French people would not go hungry.” The grassroots petition quickly gained hundreds of thousands of signatures and resulted in a unprecedented law in the food industry in France. Derambarsh, who lead the initiative for France, is now looking to implement the same through out the European Union.

A similar law passed this past New Years, which requires French restaurants to offer all its customers take-out (doggie) bags should they want to take home their leftovers.

It is estimated that in the U.S. approximately 40% of food is wasted.