In April, French policy makers released a set of proposals to fight against food waste along the chain of production, distribution and consumption. This first comprehensive public policy on food waste calls for more than 30 regulatory and policy measures, including:
- A “ban on food waste” for supermarkets, which will have a legal obligation to donate extra food to non-profit organizations that ask for it.
- A legal obligation for businesses generating large quantities of food and organic waste to direct resources to their best possible use, from human consumption down a hierarchy of animal feed, industrial uses, anaerobic digestion, and composting.
- The creation of a dedicated national agency to manage food waste, with an annual budget equivalent to $33-43 million and supported by 1,000 community service positions—similar to the US Americorps program.
- A wide range of regulatory measures to clarify expiration dates on grocery products, limit unjustified rejections of shipments from suppliers by retailers, facilitate gleaning of unharvested crops, and even support dumpster diving through a “recovering is not stealing” ordinance and prohibitions against intentionally destroying edible food.
- The creation of an annual “food recovery day” to encourage the mobilization of communities and small stores.
- A focus on waste prevention through educational campaigns, professional training in the food service sector, and waste reduction certification programs, including a “zero food waste” label.
If these ambitious measures are approved and implemented, France could be at the cutting edge of the fight against food waste. Will the U.S. be inspired to follow suit?
This post was written by Food Shift volunteer Marie Mourad and first appeared on the NRDC blog.