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New food law to stop waste

Waste targeted by new law will see unsold foodstuffs given to the poor or used to create a more sustainable economy

SUPERMARKET chains will be banned from throwing away unsold food products under a new anti-waste law unanimously approved in parliament.

Under the bill, which will become law early next year after a vote in the Senate, supermarkets will not be allowed to deliberately spoil unsold food products that pass their sell-by dates. Such products will instead be redirected towards humanitarian and environmental causes, such as feeding the poor, being turned into compost for use in agriculture, or producing energy.

The new law – unanimously approved by the National Assembly on the sidelines of the COP21 summit last night – will encourage more sustainable practices by preventing waste and reduce levels of polluting rubbish.

Jean-Pierre Decool of Les Républicans, who voted with the Parti Socialiste in favour of the bill, said: “Throwing away a loaf of bread is like emptying a whole bathtub – throwing away a kilo of beef is 15,000 litres of water wasted.”

Brigitte Alain of the green Ecologie party said: “Food waste, if it were a country, would be the world’s third worst polluter.”

Mr Decool added that food wastage represented “56 meals per household every year”.

The bill was passed in the National Assembly by 300 MPs belonging to both the government and opposition and will go before the Senate early next year.

Its supporters say it is of “critical” importance to the planet and will cement France’s reputation as a global leader in fighting waste. It aims to build on a similar measure proposed in May that was overturned by the Cabinet for legal reasons.

However, although the bill targets big supermarket chains, these make up at most only 10% of food waste in France, with 70% being thrown out by households – with the packaging often unopened – and 15% by restaurants.

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