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France Bans Supermarkets From Tossing Unsold Food

By Brian Spaen

In order to curb food waste, we’ve seen a number of actions take place in the last year to help consumers. We can talk to Amazon’s Alexa to see if our meat and vegetables are still good, labels are becoming more simplified on foods so consumers can understand them better, and stores are selling groceries past the “sell by” dates. France was an early adopter of the latter process, and they've already reaped major rewards because of it.

Back in February 2016, France passed legislation and forced their supermarkets to quit wasting food. Instead of throwing food away that’s approaching or just past the “sell by” dates, they needed to donate them to charity. Food banks now have the benefit of expanding their capacity to hold more donated foods from these supermarkets.

Law also forced supermarkets to no longer lock up food in warehouses or to put bleach in their garbage bins where food was disposed. This was done to prevent a growing number of people sneaking into these bins to grab edible food, but donations to food banks would also push this problem down. According to The Guardian, restaurants in France are responsible for 15 percent of food waste, which “would mean [10 million] more meals being handed out each year.”