France Mandates that Supermarkets Give Surplus Food to Charity

Alvin Ward
istock / istock

France's parliament just voted to ban grocery stores from destroying or throwing away unsold food. Instead, supermarket owners will have to donate the food to charity or give it farms to be turned into animal feed or compost.

This decision was part of a bill aiming to decrease waste and diminish France's environmental impact. The measure, proposed by the Socialist deputy Guillaume Garot, was approved by the national assembly on Thursday. The overall bill is still being discussed and will need final approval from the senate.

Larger grocery stores (400 sq m or more) must sign a formal contract with charities by next July promising to deliver all surplus food. Failing to do so will lead to a €75,000 ($83,000) fine, or two years in jail.

Along with cracking down on supermarkets, the bill will also look to curb waste in school cafeterias and remove the "best before" stamps on fresh food. This is part of France's overall goal to cut waste by 50 percent by 2025.