French government bans supermarket food waste

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French assembly pass new law banning supermarket food waste

The French government has introduced a new law banning supermarkets from throwing away or destroying food which they no longer deem saleable.

France is the first country in the world to pass the spearheading law and campaigners are now trying to get the European Union on board, hoping that EU member countries would then have to adopt the same policy.

The new law bans larger supermarkets from disposing of waste food or destroying it so as to make it no longer edible for those who collect wasted food from commercial waste bins.

As of February 3, supermarkets in France occupying an area of more than 4,305 sq ft now must hold a contract with a charity or food bank to whom they must donate any unsold food. If any stores are caught to be in breach of the policy, they could be hit with a fine of up to €75,000 (£53,000).

Food banks and charities throughout France have welcomed the new law enthusiastically, but they themselves must take responsibility for collecting the unwanted food from supermarkets and their distribution warehouses. The food must then be stored by the food banks in regulation with health and safety rules.

The initial campaign, led by Arash Derambarsh, a municipal councillor in Courbevoie, attracted the attention of French celebrities and government officials; and the campaign petition was signed by more than 200,000 people before it was passed as a bill through the national assembly.

Monsier Derambarsh said: “The next step is to ask the president, François Hollande, to put pressure on Jean-Claude Juncker and to extend this law to the whole of the EU.”

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