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Huge Fines for French Supermarkets That Throw Food

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food_waste_mpxFrance is the first country in the world to fine supermarkets for throwing away food.

Millions die of starvation and lack of food around the world- this is a fact. But even if we don’t look as far as the poor areas in Africa and Asia, in our cities, here in the so-called developed world, there are so many, who consider a meal a day to be a feast.

Yet, other millions need rules, regulations and laws to ban them from throwing away food. The dumpsters of the major supermarkets are overly full with perfectly good food, or in numbers, 7.1 million tons of food per year goes to waste. To make it worse, many retailers actually destroy it first, some go to the extreme to put bleach all over it, so that homeless or poor people do not go “dumpster diving”.

To put an end to this madness, the French government has introduced a new law that obliges supermarkets larger than 4,305 sq ft (400 sq m), to sign contracts with charities. If they fail to do so, and continue dumping food after its “best before” date, the fine that the retailers can face can reach €75,000 ($82,324) and two years in jail.

The numbers are really shocking- in France, 11% of the wasted food comes from supermarkets and retailers, while the whooping 67% comes from households. Translated into money, this adds to €20 billion ($21.95 billion) per year. So, the new law targets two main groups. First, the careless retailers, who destroy perfectly good food, rather than allow those in need to take it. And second, people, who should be educated on how to treat food with respect, and minimize food waste.

This is what a relatively small country like France does to tackle the problem, but what do the others do? Unfortunately, the answer is- not much. According to the latest figures by the World Bank, on a global scale, 1.3 billion tons, or between one third and one quarter of all the food we produce, gets thrown away. Yet, there are so few businesses, mainly charities and NGOs, who act against this. Real shame, but hopefully France will set an example, and many will soon follow.

Image (C) getty

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The most popular French charity distributes 128.5 million meals to 950,000 persons, it’s called Restaurants of the heart, and was founded by the late comedian Coluche, once a presidential candidate (for fun). It is a secular organization, which is also very important over here to gather the largest number of patrons. The meals can either be eaten within the restaurants for a bit of socializing, or taken away to cook at home.

    The Food Bank has a Catholic background and serves a whooping 200 million meals to 1.85 million persons. Both organizations were founded around 1985, and if there is no overlapping, serve about 4-5% of the population, which is very telling. I am sure other countries have similar needs and would benefit from more anti food waste measures, and you don’t even need to wait for the law to start this.

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