Supermarkets are one of the biggest contributors of food waste. Tons and tons of spoiled food and rotten fruits and vegetables are thrown in waste bins yearly, especially in Europe. To solve this problem, the French government has recently signed a law prohibiting supermarkets in France from throwing away unsold food. As the law states, supermarkets are now required to donate unwanted food to charitable institutions and food banks.
Additionally, supermarkets are also prohibited from deliberately spoiling the food to keep people from rummaging through the trash bins. In the last few years, supermarkets have seen a marked increase in the number of people who rummage through the trash just so they can have something to eat.
What’s more disturbing are the reports about supermarkets that doused spoiled food with bleach. Obviously, they were doing this to prevent people from foraging through the trash bins. Whatever their reason for doing this, it is still an inhumane act and we think it’s a good thing that there is now a law forbidding them to do such.
French senators unanimously voted in this law in February of this year. Under the new law, supermarkets will no longer be able to throw out good quality food approaching its best before date. Grocery stores will have to partner with charitable institutions and food banks so they can donate the food items. With this law, charitable institutions will now have the capacity to hand out food to the homeless and less fortunate. Stores with at least 400 square meters of floor area must comply with the new law. Supermarkets who do not participate will have to pay a fine of up to 3,750 Euros.
Food banks and charitable institutions will have to do their part as well. They are obliged to collect and properly store the food to ensure that it is maintained in good, edible condition. They are also required to distribute the collected food in a “dignified manner” to the needy. Food items can only be distributed at food banks where councilors can interact and observe the needy.
The Guardian issued a statement about this new law, which states:
“Crucially the law will also make it simpler for the food industry to give some excess products directly to food banks from factories. Until now, if a dairy factory made yoghurts carrying the brand name of a supermarket, it had been a long, complex process to donate any excess to charity. Now it would be faster and easier.”
During a recent interview with Jacques Bailet of Banques Alimentaires, a network of Food banks, told the Guardian, “… since supermarkets are now going to be obliged to sign a donation deal with charitable institutions, this can result in a boost in food diversity and quality that they can distribute to the needy. France was the first country to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. Having said that, we really hope more countries will follow their steps in fighting hunger as well as food waste.”
According to Bailet, there’s a nutritional deficiency in the meat they offer to the needy and they don’t have enough fruits and vegetables to serve. Hopefully, this new legislation can address this issue.
The country is looking forward to broadening and intensify their fight against food wastes. The people behind this effort are taking steps to have other countries pass a similar law.
According to President Francois Hollande, “This battle is only just beginning. We now have to fight food waste in restaurants, bakeries, school and company cafeterias.”
We are all looking forward to the outcome of this great advocacy. It is our hope that we can help change the world’s perspective about hunger and food waste one country at a time. Until we reach a day when we can live in a world where no one has to go to sleep hungry. Let us all take our part in making this world a better place to live in. Even though we are living in a country that has yet to implement this law, let’s start doing our part today.