France’s supermarket battle to combat hunger

It’s been long documented that supermarkets throw out an abundance of unspoiled food so us ethical folk were over the moon to hear that France has now demanded that this food is passed to charities in a bid to combat hunger from poverty and waste. I now pose the question of whether this can be rolled out to the whole of the EU; surely we could all benefit from this?

It is positive to learn that the French assembly voted unanimously on this and it’s been met with much praise online:

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I don’t think anyone could disagree that this is a great move for every single person on the planet.

According to The Guardian:

Supermarkets will be barred from deliberately spoiling unsold food so it cannot be eaten. Those with a footprint of 4,305 sq ft (400 sq m) or more will have to sign contracts with charities by July next year or face penalties including fines of up to €75,000 (£53,000) or two years in jail.

It’s awful to think that these chains pour bleach over the food they throw out to stop people taking it. Would you glue a fiver to the floor because you didn’t want it but decided you didn’t want anyone else to have it either?

It would certainly lead to less prosecution of those who rummage through supermarket bins for food, as it is still classed as theft. Freeganism, known as “dumpster diners” in the media, search through dumpsters to find unspoiled food that has been thrown out and embrace life against materialism and greed. This is a wonderful ideal however I can honestly say I couldn’t live my whole life by this mantra as I am slightly materialistic! But by donating this unspoiled foods to charity, we could help contribute more towards food banks, which are struggling to feed the masses that come to their door every day.

Reports from Waste, Resources and Action Programme (WARP) confirmed the UK threw away seven million tonnes of food waste in 2012. I must admit, I have been guilty of throwing away food that’s almost past its best and I do feel sick about it when there are people starving; but I don’t think I’m alone.

Some local authorities, such as where my mother lives, insist food waste is recycled and used for compost; providing homes with special bins that are collected regularly. Along with the glass, plastic and card recycling, there is barely any actual refuse to collect. This results in smaller landfills. I believe in order for us all to contribute to ethical living, we should roll this out across the whole of Britain because again, what’s the argument against this?

By enforcing similar laws on our national supermarkets like France has done, along with upping recycling, we could greatly reduce food poverty and our carbon footprint.

Thankfully, there is an upcoming food summit taking place by Fareshare on June 17 and suggestions have been made that greatly reducing supermarket waste will be at the forefront of discussion.

So what can we do as individuals? Start rallying our MPs and councils to take further steps to reducing waste and if we petition collectively, we can all follow suit with France, hourra!

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