Tuesday, June 2, 2015

France is Making It Illegal for Supermarkets to Throw Away Edible Food

WaPo reports on yet another crazed central planning move:
In an effort to curb food waste, which accounts for roughly one-third of all food produced worldwide, France is making it illegal for supermarkets to throw away any food that is considered edible. The European country's parliament voted unanimously for the new law, which will force grocers to either donate the food to charity or make sure that it is used as animal feed.

"It’s scandalous to see bleach being poured into supermarket dustbins along with edible foods," Guillaume Garot, a former food minister who introduced the bill, told the legislature Thursday evening.

The law, as written, is one of the most stringent attempts to cut the amount of edible but unbecoming produce tossed out every day. As of July 2016, large supermarkets in France — those approximately 4,300 square feet and larger — will face fines of up to $82,000 for failing to comply.

France's pivot comes on the heels of a pledge by the European Union to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2025. But it also follows a number of other forward-thinking measures in France, aimed at halting the practice of tossing out food because of overly conservative expiration dates.

Forward-thinking measure?

How about idiotic with a remarkable display of cluelessness about basic economics.

The legislation ignores the fact that there is a cost associated with funneling food that is not salable in a manner other than as waste. No firm is going to throw away food that can be profitably sold elsewhere, even as animal feed. To the degree that the law will require supermarkets to give food to charities, it is a tax on supermarkets to absorb the costs of such special handling.



  1. I'm going to make a guess: The law requiring supermarkets to donate or use expired food for animal feed will replace a law that required supermarkets to render the food inedible and dispose of it.

    Animal feed is one of those things where at minimum a large supermarket could cut their disposal costs to near zero because it would be picked up for free for that purpose. However that's not being done so there must be a law stopping it. Many charities would pick up food for free, but like in the USA there are probably laws preventing them from serving expired (but safe and edible) food.

    What is not mandatory is forbidden.

  2. I wonder how long it will take for animals or people to die because the questionable food was on the wrong side of "edible".

  3. I'm guessing that it's government rules and laws that force grocers to throw away edibles in the first place.