French supermarkets will soon be forced by law to hand over unused food to charity, as a result of an unprecedented bill that might be enacted early next year. Unlike the UK, having introduced a voluntary agreement with the grocery and retail sector to reduce both food and packaging waste, the French measures will set a mandatory target, becoming the strictest law of its kind in Europe.
Being backed by all political parties, the food waste bill aims to cut the estimated 7 million tonnes of food wasted every year by forcing stores to donate food to charity instead of discarding it. To avoid fines of up to €75,000 (about $120,000) or two years in jail, supermarkets will have to sign contracts with charities, and will not be allowed to pour bleach or water on food to render it inedible, putting an end to an unethical, yet legal, common practice. Moreover, food producers will not be obliged anymore to destroy whole batches of branded edible products whenever a tiny fault is detected.