Action to cut food waste gathers speed in Europe

Lucy Purdy

After France banned supermarkets throwing away unwanted food in 2016, action to curb food waste has accelerated across Europe

In July, MEPs voted by 600 to 48 in favour of new laws to end unfair supermarket trading practices that lead to overproduction and waste. The European Parliament has also called for binding legislation to halve food waste in Europe by 2030.

“There is rising momentum for legislation on the food waste issue,” said Piotr Barczak of the European Environmental Bureau, a federation of environmental organisations based in all EU member states.

In 2016, France became the first country to impose such a ban, introducing fines of up to €75,000 (£62,602) if shops refused to send the food to charity.

Since then, Italy has made it easier for companies and farmers to donate food to charity and is also encouraging use of restaurant ‘doggy bags’. The UK parliament is considering legislation to tackle the problem. The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee launched an enquiry after figures showed 8m tonnes of food is wasted post-manufacture. Research suggests 60 per cent of this could be avoided.

Image: Flickr user savagecat


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