In an effort to curb food waste—a global problem, with a third of all uneaten food produced winding up in landfills—France has just passed a new “zero-tolerance” law banning supermarkets from destroying unsold food, which will now go to charity instead.
Under the new law, major supermarkets will no longer be able to engage in the apparently common practice of destroying unsold food so that it can’t be eaten. “It’s scandalous to see bleach being poured into supermarket dustbins along with edible foods,”explained Socialist deputy Guillaume Garot, a former food minister who introduced the measure. Food that’s deemed unsellable, but still edible, is to be donated; larger stores will have to sign formal agreements with charities by July of next year or else face up to €75,000 ($83,000) in fines — or possibly jail time. Food that definitely isn’t safe to eat is instead to be donated to farms, for use as animal feed or compost.
This is the kind of governmental move that really feels stripped of politics and just makes sense for everyone involved—and while many independent businesses already have similar systems in place, both in the United States and abroad, one can only hope that other municipalities follow suit, and fast.
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