France Bans Supermarket Waste; Stores Must Donate Unsold Food to Charity

France’s parliament voted unanimously to ban supermarkets from throwing unsold food away

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

This brings us one step closer to making a positive impact on our environment.

France has taken a major step in trying to combat environmental issues and energy depletion. Yesterday, the French parliament voted unanimously to ban supermarket waste. France wastes one million metric tons of food waste annually — nearly 29 pounds per French citizen. Any food that is unsold in supermarkets, instead of being thrown out, must now either be donated to charity or put to use as animal feed or compost, according to Al Jazeera. All large supermarkets will sign a contract to legally bind them to the newly passed measures.

“It's scandalous to see bleach being poured into supermarket dustbins along with edible foods," Socialist member of parliament Guillaume Garot, who sponsored the bill, told Al Jazeera.

The current method of pouring bleach over unsold food makes the castoffs unfit for even dumpster divers.

However, the bill has been met with some opposition: The head of the French federation for commerce and distribution, Jacques Creyssel, said that large supermarkets account for only about 5 percent of the country’s total food waste, and he suggested that parliament go after restaurants as well.

This is not the first measure France has taken to reduce food waste in grocery stores: last year, French supermarket chain Intermarché started an ad campaign in support of “ugly” fruits and vegetables, encouraging customers to buy the deformed produce by offering a discount.

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