Large French supermarkets barred from throwing away food

by Reuters
Friday, 22 May 2015 10:06 GMT

Eugene, an 87-year-old retired Frenchman, puts in a bag foods found in a garbage container next to a supermarket in Nice, June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

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Big shops will have to donate unsold but edible food to charities or for use as animal feed or farming compost

PARIS, May 22 (Reuters) - France is cracking down on food waste with a new law banning big supermarkets from destroying unsold food or face fines and even jail sentences.

Under a bill approved on Thursday as part of a broader law on energy and the environment, supermarkets of over 400 square-meters will be forced to sign contracts by July 2016 to donate unsold but edible food to charities or for use as animal feed or farming compost.

Failure to comply could expose them to two years in jail and fines of 75,000 euros.

The French federation for commerce and distribution (FCD) said it was a mistake to only target big supermarkets, which they said represented only 5 percent of total food waste.

French people throw away 20 kilos of food per person per year, costing an estimated 12-20 billion euros ($13.4-22.4 billion) annually, according to the French Environment Ministry.

The full law still has to be voted by the lower house of parliament on May 26 before it goes to the Senate.

($1 = 0.8935 euros) (Reporting by Emile Picy, writing by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Leigh Thomas)

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