Italy adopts law to stop shops throwing away food

Italy adopts law to stop shops throwing away food
Photo: Andrea Leganza
Italian deputies on Thursday approved a new law aimed at curbing food waste which will make it easier for supermarkets, wholesalers and farmers to pass unsold products on to charities.

The draft legislation, which is expected to be definitively approved soon after examination by the Senate, reforms complicated tax rules which previously acted as a barrier to food donations to groups working with the needy.

It also relaxes some food safety regulations to enable distribution of products in the window between their “sell by” and “use by” deadlines.

The move follows the adoption of similar measures in France in February. Italy throws away food worth an estimated €12 billion every year with just over half that total accounted for by private households.

Restaurants account for 21 percent, shops 15 percent and agriculture around eight percent, according to food producers' organisation Coldiretti.

“The situation remains serious: each Italian throws away around 76 kilogrammes of food every year,” the organisation said in a statement.

Some six million Italians currently depend on supplies from charities who distribute some 550,000 tonnes of food aid every year. The new law aims to double the amount handed out.

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