France’s Food Waste Crisis

Featured photo courtesy of Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

We live in a world where food is wasted by the millions of tonnes, yet still people struggle to eat. But in France a campaign to stop food waste has recently resulted in a new law, and is causing people around the world to examine what they waste.

In France there is a crisis for food waste. 7.1 million Tonnes of food are waste each year, with most being done by people at home, but also a sizable amount being thrown away by supermarkets. Arash Derambarsh, a local councilor in Paris, saw this as a terrible fact. He had regularly viewed people scrounging food out of supermarket bins, food that had been thrown out as its best before date approaches, just to survive. But these people were often chased away, in some cases were arrested and charged with theft. Arash decided he would use his position on the council to make a difference, and with many supporters, he started a campaign to reduce food waste.

Rremy Gabalda/AFP/Getty Images

Rremy Gabalda/AFP/Getty Images

Over the next few months his petition to adopt new regulation gained over 200,000 signatures, and the amendment was passed through the French assembly unanimously. This new law bans supermarkets from throwing away food approaching best-before dates and deliberately poisoning foods to prevent them being taken once they are thrown away. Unsold food is to be banned from being thrown away, and instead will be donated to charities or turned into animal feed.

This new law sent messages around the world, and soon after one this law was passed one of the UK’s largest food retailers, called Tesco, released a statement saying that all unsold food would be donated to charity. And since then, there has been pressure for more retailers to do the same, and for the government, much like France, to take action.

Bertrand Guay/AFP

Bertrand Guay/AFP

This legislation comes at a time when more food banks are being used than ever. In the UK alone food bank usage has skyrocketed in the last few years, with an estimated 100,000 more people using them than before. And as a result of this food banks are struggling to provide the people that need food the most with food, but luckily this decision may help alleviate the stress being put on the organisations.

In America this legislation is also needed. In 2010 alone, US supermarkets threw out 43 billion pounds worth of food. And in conjunction with this fact, one in seven Americans lack reliable access to food. If this law is passed in America, it could help to alleviate the food poverty that many Americans are experiencing, and hopefully help tackle the larger problem of poverty that is still an issue in modern America.

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