France has become the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. Instead the government has forced them to donate their left over food to charities and food banks.
Under the new law large shops will no longer bin good quality food approaching its best-before date. Charities will be able to give out millions more free meals each year to people struggling to afford to eat.
The law was developed following a grassroots campaign by France by shoppers, anti-poverty campaigners and those opposed to food waste.
The campaign, which led to a petition, and then in December a bill was set before Parliament.
Campaigners now hope to persuade the EU to adopt similar legislation across member states.
The law has been welcomed by food banks, which will now begin the task of finding the extra volunteers, lorries, warehouse and fridge space to deal with an increase in donations from shops and food companies.
Supermarkets will also be barred from deliberately spoiling food in order to stop it being eaten by people foraging in stores’ bins.
Under the new laws supermarkets will have to sign donation contracts with charities or face penalties, including fines of up to $100,000 or two years’ imprisonment.
We think this is an excellent idea and wonder if we should have the same laws in New Zealand. Share your thoughts in the comments below.