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I was shocked to hear about this brilliant step forward, why don’t we have this in more countries?

In France during my work in Calais, I wondered were all food in The Refugee Community Kitchen came from. A part of it was bought, but another part of it was donated. Digging further into the donated part, I discovered a brilliant system against food waste.

The French Senate applied a rule in the French law system, which makes it illegal for supermarkets to waste good quality food. The rule is stated that food that is still or good quality can never be thrown away. Therefore, when stores or supermarkets decide to take a product out of their stores or assortments before their best-before date, the companies are forced to donate the unsold foods. In this way,  fresh and nutritious food gets a second chance to be eaten. If supermarkets don’t donate the food, a huge penalty can be faced. France is the first country in the world to ban food waste this way.

I figured it out with bread during my work in Calais: A really big grocery-chain donated boxes full of breads and baguettes to the Refugee Kitchen. In French supermarkets, they bake their bread fresh on multiple moments during the day, in order to provide their customers with the taste of just-out-of-the-oven-breads.  But when you bake new breads every 2-3 hours and not all of it gets sold in between, the breads pile up during the day. These breads are still fresh and baked today, but customers prefer the freshest tomorrow again. To offer their customers the very best, by the end of the day the supermarkets take out all unsold breads and baguettes and donate them to multiple organisations. And as refugee kitchen, we made grateful use of this donation and provided 1.500 refugees with slices of bread the next day to add to their meal.

How great would it be if such initiatives could be added in all European countries? How many charity organisations such as homeless shelters, food-banks and animal rescues could take advantage of these goods? How many people and animals could be helped with that? I am also thinking of the positive impact this statement could create for our environment and our nature. Knowing each year 1.3bn tonnes of food are wasted worldwide.

Of course, strict rules should apply for fresh foods and controls should take place in order to not give out any product that is not 100% beneficial for anyone’s health.

I still love this discovery and I can’t wait to hear more countries apply this law!

Did you know about this? And what are you doing to reduce your waste of food?