The world’s 870 million hungry people could be fed if all the wasted food in the world was collected and evenly distributed, a recent British report revealed. Collecting some of that food is an issue France has decided to address.
The push starts with the food that supermarkets in France throw out — it's often doused with bleach to deter dumpster divers from foraging. According the The Guardian, a new law will require supermarkets to donate unsold food to charities or for animal feed.
The law stipulates that donations can’t place an “unfair burden” on charities. The food donated to the charities must be edible and ready to use and not mixed with spoiled foods that the charity needs to sift through.
Any supermarket that is 4,305 square feet in size is affected by this new legislation. By 2016, markets must sign contracts with charities that will receive the food or face fines up to €75,000 (currently the equivalent of $81,747) or up to two years jail time.
In addition to the supermarket requirements, the law also mandates the creation of an education program about food waste in schools and businesses.
The law is one step toward France reaching its overall goal to halve its food waste by 2025.
Wouldn't it be great if the United States passed a law like this? It’s certainly something to aim for. But, let me point this out: A recent USDA food waste report found that more food is wasted on the consumer level than on the retail level.
In 2010, consumers wasted 21 percent of the food that was available on the consumer and retail level. Retailers wasted only 10 percent.
While you’re waiting for our legislators to pass a law similar to France’s, you can put a huge dent in food waste yourself with these 7 expert tips for reducing household waste before it starts. If you can curb your personal food waste and recoup just part of the $2,275 the average family of four loses each year because of wasted food, you could make your own donation to charities that help to feed the hungry.
Related on MNN:
- One simple change could save a lot of wasted food
- Startling statistic: Wasted food is world's third-biggest carbon dioxide emitter
- Pope says culture of food waste is like stealing from the poor