As John Oliver so masterfully pointed out this past summer, the world has a huge problem with food waste, and a big part of that problem can be attributed to grocery stores. Rather than donate their “expired” food, stores tend to throw tons upon tons of perfectly good food straight into the garbage, claiming that they fear legal repercussions should someone get sick eating food near its expiration date.
To circumvent this fear of legal action, governments must pass laws that clear the way for grocery stores to give away older food, and now the government of France finally took a stand. The European nation’s National Assembly has passed a law that will force supermarkets with 4305 square feet or more to donate their nearly-expired food to charity or turn it into animal feed and compost. The move will put a major dent in the more than 7 million tons of food wasted each year in France.
If the law is passed by the country’s Senate, it will require that grocery stores enter into contracts with charities or face a steep $82,000. On the other side of the cash register, French schoolchildren will learn about the value of food and the importance of preventing food waste.
“Schoolchildren need to know milk doesn’t come from cartons but cows’ udders, that some vegetables are picked only in certain seasons,” Socialist member of parliament Guillaume Garot told The Telegraph. “They must learn to appreciate the quality of products, as the higher the quality of the meal, the less is left on the plate.”
Agreed. Should the law be enacted next year, France will become a leader in the anti-food waste movement not just in Europe, but worldwide as fewer food insecure families in the country go hungry.
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