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French supermarkets banned from throwing away unsold food

| International retailers

Supermarkets in France have been banned from throwing away or spoiling unsold food by law. The stores are now required to donate unwanted food to charities and food banks.

To stop foragers, some supermarkets have in the past poured bleach over discarded food or stored binned food in locked warehouses.

The new law was voted unanimously by the French Senate after a petition was launched by Courbevoie councillor Arash Derambarsh. It will apply to any supermarket with a footprint of more than 400 square meters. If companies flout the law they could incur fines of up to R63 000.

Jacques Bailet from Banques Alimentaires, a network of food banks said: “Most importantly, because supermarkets will be obliged to sign a donation deal with charities, we will be able to increase the quality and diversity of food we get and distribute.”

“In terms of nutritional balance, we currently have a deficit of meat and a lack of fruit and vegetables. This new approach will hopefully allow us to push for those products. This is very important for the food banks because this is a real source of quality products, coming straight from the factory.”

Derambarsh is now looking to get an EU-wide law banning supermarket food waste. “The next step is to ask President François Hollande to put pressure on the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and to extend this law to the whole of the EU”, he said. “This battle is only just beginning. We now have to fight food waste in restaurants, bakeries, school canteens and company canteens.”

Editor – This publication will be glad to support such an initiative in South Africa. Contact us if you wish to initiate such a move.

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