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Italy Joins France in Forcing Supermarkets to Pass Waste Food to Charity

Posted on: March 18, 2016

Bin full of fruit of vegetables

The battle against food waste goes on! We already know that the UK is the most wasteful country in Europe, with around millions of tonnes of food thrown away each year; though the issue is becoming big news across Europe. Some of the worst offenders include.

  • UK – 14.3 million tonnes per year
  • Germany  - 10.3 million tonnes per year
  • France  - 9 million tonnes per year
  • Poland – 8.9 million tonnes per year
  • Italy  - 8.7 million tonnes per year

In the past year, an anti-waste movement has slowly gathered momentum across the continent. In February, France introduced laws which ban supermarkets from throwing away waste food. Instead they must now donate all edible waste food to charity or risk a fine of €3,750 (£2,900). In an interview with The Independent newspaper, French politician, Arash Derambarsh, said “The problem is simple – we have food going to waste and poor people who are going hungry.”

Now, following the lead of the French, the Italian government has this week passed a bill which will force supermarkets to donate more of their waste food to charities. It is estimated that on average 76kg of food for each person living in Italy is thrown away.  Unlike the French, who will penalise those who throw away food, the Italian legislation means:

  • Reformed tax laws will make it easier for supermarkets to donate unsold food.
  • Businesses will now be allowed to give away food which has passed its expiry date, provided it is not spoiled.

Speaking to the La Republica newspaper, Italian agriculture minister Maruizio Martina said “We are making it more convenient for companies to donate than to waste. We currently recover 550 million tonnes of excess food each year, but we want to arrive at one billion in 2016.” 

Whilst we have already seen various initiatives here in the UK, such as ASDA’s ‘wonky veg’ boxes, food waste continues to cost this country almost £3 billion every year. So whilst selling wonky veg is a start, there is a lot more which needs to be done to tackle the problem!