France throws away 7.8 million tonnes of food a year. Which is why the French parliament voted that rather than throw away food that reaches its “sell by date” that they should instead give it away. The law, which passed through France’s National Assembly in December, went into full effect in February and comes with a stiff penalty of up to €75,000 or two years in prison if not followed.
The law follows a grassroots campaign in France by shoppers, anti-poverty campaigners and those opposed to food waste. A campaign was started which in turn led to a petition.
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.
This is an amazing step forward for a number of reasons:
- It exemplifies the power that we, as consumers, have to create change in
- It directly combats France’s homelessness and malnutrition issues by further stocking the community resources that provide for the less fortunate.
- It further diversifies what is made available to food banks.
- It sets a blueprint for other countries around the world to follow and implement.
Campaigners now hope to persuade the EU to adopt similar legislation across member states.