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Stores may have to give away food

French MPs propose a bill that would force supermarkets to donate unsold food to charity

MANY supermarkets in France already do it, but now MPs have proposed a bill requiring stores larger than 1,000m2 to donate unsold food to charity rather than throw it away.

Nord department representative Jean-Pierre Decool is leading the group of politicians who want to strengthen the law in the fight against food waste - which they describe as “the scourge of our consumer society.

Le Monde reports that every supermarket in France throws out 200 tonnes of food waste a year, 5% of the total amount of food thrown away in the country.

France’s “grandes surfaces” already donate 31% of the food collected by food banks. Last year, the country’s 1,400 hypermarkets gave away 32,000 tonnes of food - the equivalent to 64 million meals.

Maurice Lony, Federal Director of French food banks, gave the proposed bill a cautious thumbs up.

He said: “This bill is a good thing because it will help increase the collection of unsold products. Some supermarkets can give more.

“But the questions about the logistics of picking up all these donations and carrying out the distribution and following hygiene rules still need to be resolved.”

Food trade group Fédération des Entreprise du Commerce et de la Distribution, however, questioned whether the law was needed. It said: “Why add the obligation when supermarkets already give daily?

“It’s absurd to donate everything that goes unsold. Lots of products like fish, shellfish, fresh pastries are subject to very specific health codes.”


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