Attempting to bridge the gap between “an epidemic of food waste” and a hungry subset of its population, the French government will be requiring supermarkets to give unsold food to charities and animal feed operations, according to the Guardian.
The bill was passed May 21 with bipartisan support in the French Parliament. It will require big supermarkets to sign contracts with charities by July 2016 or face fines up to €75,000 ($82,000).
In recent years, some French supermarkets have begun pouring bleach over their throwaway food to dissuade people from foraging in dumpsters and potentially contracting foodborne illnesses from spoiled food.
For many types of foods sold in supermarkets, however, passing an expiration date does not introduce a significant foodborne illness risk. Many expiration dates only indicate a time at which the food is not in optimal shape.
The average French citizen is estimated to throw out 44 to 66 pounds of food each year, 15 pounds of which is still in its packaging. This new supermarket law is part of a greater effort to cut food waste in France by 50 percent in the next 10 years.© Food Safety News