The Stream

Making #FoodWaste illegal

Should supermarkets and restaurants be forced to donate unsold food to charity?

France is making it illegal for supermarkets to waste food. A new law, voted unanimously by the French national assembly, will force stores to donate unsold food to charities or animal feed instead of throwing it out. The man behind the new legislation argues that every uneaten meal is one that a hungry person will never be able to have. So he started a petition against food waste, receiving signatures from 211,000 people, before the law was approved.

An estimated 795 million people around the world do not have enough food to eat. Yet close to half of all the food produced worldwide is thrown away each year. In dollars, the cost of wasted food totals $400 billion each year and by 2030 that number will reach $600 billion.

The reasons for this massive waste vary from place to place. In developing countries, more than 40 per cent of the waste takes place before the food gets to the supermarket. Inadequate infrastructure like storage or refrigerating facilities, bad roads and corruption play into the problem. In developed countries, however, over 40 per cent of the waste happens in supermarkets or at home. Consumer demand for cosmetically perfect produce, buy-one-get-one-free deals, large portion sizes and strict sell-by dates are some of the reasons for this.

In this episode, we talk to activists working to reduce the amount of food the world wastes each year. Join the conversation at 1930GMT. 

Should supermarkets and restaurants be forced to donate unsold food to charity?

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to:

Sara Farley @InnovationWoman
Co-Founder and CEO, Global Knowledge Initiative

Corin Bell @realjunkfoodmcr
Director, Real Junk Food Project Manchester

Jenny Rustemeyer @JustEatItFilm
Producer, Just Eat It

JoAnne Berkenkamp @NRDCFOOD
Senior Advocate, Natural Resources Defense Council

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.