France passes bill forcing shops to give unsold food to charities

Posted Dec 11, 2015 by Kesavan Unnikrishnan
The French National Assembly has passed a new law that forces large supermarkets to not trash unsold food. Under the new law, large supermarkets will be required to partner with local charities that can help distribute unsold food to consumers in need.
A Intermarché store in France
A Intermarché store in France
jean-louis Zimmermann
The proposal was earlier passed as part of another law in May this year but was annulled by France’s constitutional court due to procedural problems. It was reintroduced on Wednesday and was passed by the assembly unanimously.
Under the bill, grocery stores of more than 4,300 sq ft would have to sign contracts with local charities or food banks, and to start giving them unsold food items. It also includes fines of up to €75,000 ($83,000) or two years in jail for non-compliance.
The law follows a campaign launched by a politician, Arash Derambarsh, who is hoping to globalize his movement.
Socialist MP Guillaume Garot, who helped in framing the bill, told the Telegraph :
Today, when a supermarket like Carrefour finds even a tiny fault with a crate of its branded yogurts, it sends the whole batch back to the dairy producer, which is legally obliged to destroy the lot even if it is all of excellent quality.This is a very regular occurrence and we are talking about huge volumes - several million yogurts binned per year. Today, the law makes it possible for manufacturers to give these yogurts to charities without even asking permission from supermarkets.
It is estimated that more than 7.1 million tonnes of food is wasted in France each year – 67 percent of it by households, 15 percent by restaurants and 11 percent by supermarkets. According to the World Food Programme, the food assistance branch of the United Nations, mankind wastes between 30 and 50 percent of the food it produces.
The U.S. reportedly wastes 40 percent of its food.
After the vote, City authorities in Paris and a group of restaurants in the French capital launched a campaign called "La box anti-gaspi," calling for customers to bring home wasted food in a doggie bag.