Thursday, June 4, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 4th June 2015

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

It was extremely disturbing to read that the European Union wasted more than 80 million tonnes of food last year, a shameful amount, with the UK the highest with 15 million tonnes.

So it was good news that the French National Assembly had voted unanimously to bring in a new law that bans supermarkets from throwing unsold food into the bin and from deliberately spoiling such food so that it cannot be eaten. Instead, food must be passed to charities or be sent for animal feed. The new law provides for a programme of education about food waste in schools and businesses.

There have been reports over recent years of poor families, the unemployed, students and homeless people foraging for food in supermarket bins at night and finding food that has been thrown out as its best-before date approaches. Some French supermarkets have been pouring bleach into the bins to stop such practices.

Campaigning groups have welcomed the new legislation but have been quick to point out that it is not a magic solution and more needs to be done to prevent the waste in the first place. The American tradition of ‘doggy bags’ has generally been frowned upon in France but some restaurants are now happy to supply customers with such, if required.

Here in the UK we only have voluntary agreements with supermarkets and suppliers and many supermarkets send surplus food to FareShare, a charity focussing on food waste. Surely, we need legislation, too.

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