France is the first

26 Replies



As of Wednesday the 4th of this month, France has become the first country in the world to enact a law which bans supermarkets from throwing away or destroying insold food. Instead, they will be required to donate it to charities and food banks. Well done France, nice one.

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geegee42 1455721307

It is surprising but governments do sometimes come up with laws that make sense.

Kernowboy-10061199 1455721727

That's good news, hopefully other countries will follow suit.

Gleaner 1455722009

typo spelling mistake.......unsold and not insold...sorry folks.

Ullrich 1455722850

If we dig a bit deeper we will discover quite a number of positive regulations that have their origin in France. They are frontrunners too when it comes to banning web sites promoting being extremely skinny and similar atrocities of the fashion industry.

georgeV-988991 1455726435

Yes but what a pity that legislation is needed to persuade the business sector to act with humanity and give the food away to people who need it.  Maybe, just maybe, it will find its way to the people at the Jungle in Calais who are in desperate need.

RHS35 1455736429

Make the homeless hungry and the poor the initial benefactors here in france first and foremost.



stogang 1455741807


Was it the goverment or was itan action group petitioning for it?

Just a thought.



wilbur-810159 1455742042

Why is this a good idea.  

Gleaner 1455742719

@stogang.... Courbevoie  (a suburb in Paris)  councillor Arash Derambarsh kickstarted the grassroots campaign  saying that it was , quote ' "scandalous and absurd" that food is wasted and in some cases deliberatly spoiled while the homeless and poor and unemployed go hungry ' unquote.

@wilbur....why is it NOT a good idea?

john lydon 1455745629

I have to ask the question ,or state the obvious, but food that is unsold is usually past it's date of consommation. Are you saying France  is willing to risk the health of ''poorer people?'' I know food can be eaten after the the date of consommation but the law is the law. 

I work within the food industry in France and have been told that supermarkets can no longer contaminate food that is in their waste bins with bleach etc.  Is this what you mean?

Where is this information coming from? 

I am genuinely interested and would like to know more. 

Gleaner 1455747218

Here is one news item on the subject....

Rance-384571 1455747277

This news has been on every French TV station and newspapers for some while now.

Here it is in English

Kernowboy-10061199 1455748812

John Lydon, exactly which law are you referring to when you say "the law is the law" ? As for risking the health of poorer people, given that there are so many of them, this food will probably reach them and be consumed well within the safe period after the sell by date.  We recently accidentally ate some salmon that was 5 days past it's sell by date, we had no ill effects whatsoever and I now look at those dates as arbitrary, stuff I used to throw away due to my poor lfridge control (it's not much), we eat it within reason.  i doubt the poor and needy are being asked to risk their lives by eating it. 

john lydon 1455889884

Perhaps i have not explained myself correctly, I can only speak for the meat industry but would imagine most forms of food supply are required to do the same, With meat, companies are required to carry out daily micro bacteria testing, these are done under various conditions thus to cover for customer abuse of the product, ie produce left in boot of car whilst other shopping, hair dressers and coffee are undertaken after leaving the point of sale, from this an agreed safe sell by and use by date are applied to the packs,these are not the same, The difference between the two dates is usually 2-3 day's. The bacteria growth there after is deemed to be excessive and unsafe and may in some cases cause health problems. If this produce is removed from sale it is normally taken to bins outside the supermarket and is thus un refrigerated,(supermarkets do not have refrigeration space for OOD produce) this would accelerate any bacteria growth.   Given that this product would now have to be collected and then re distributed which would take at least a couple of day's how can it be safe for consumption when it is deemed not to be to the paying public. It is either safe or not it cannot be both. If it is deemed for what ever reason to now be safe why wouldn't the supermarket extend the original shelf life of the product?  They won't because it's bacteria tested, it's not just a finger in the air guess on how many day's shelf life are applied it's a controlled Legal level. Hence my "the law is the law" quote.

Gleaner 1455892343

For more info on this, see....

Or type into Google 'La loi met fin au gaspillage alimentaire' and if you want to read it in English, select  Translate, second line down and on the extreme right hand side.

Busterboy 1455895478

Well they are  not going to stick it in the bin waiting for a hungry person to pass by and eat it!!

It will be collected by proper collection vans!

Lots of charaties already do this, collect and take to soup kitchens for example!

Davey1200-433468 1455989920

Knowing the French, this will just be another law that is ignored.

Ullrich 1455992432

Whatever, don't they deserve credit for trying when others (like my proud country) don't do anything?

kathyd2 1456004805

I agree Ullrich.

Gleaner 1456070801

Well said Ullrich. My point was to bring to everyones attention the newly introduced law and the benefits associated with it for some folk. Seriously though, a lot of folk on here these days just seem to want to troll any thread these days. Sad :'(

oakley-419073 1456098047

The nearest supermarket to us sells many outdated foods so can't imagine how old it is before that is taken off the shelves. 

stonedecroze 1456132802

Well said 'Gleaner' and just to prove your point along comes 'oakley'.

Whatever the specifics the principle should surely be respected. All that food in waste bins en route to dumps is shameful. I have frequently eaten past due food - not because I am impoverished but because I have common sense.

Well done France (and the EU perhaps). Now if they could please reduce packaging as well they would make further giant strides.

john lydon 1456145432

Sorry to say but some are actually missing the points here

1) Supermarkets do not have storage space (refrigerated) to hold  OOD produce hence it goes into bins. It is unfit for consumption as proven by bacterial testing so why invest millions in refrigeration for rubbish.

2) You are not allowed to store OOD produce with In date produce because of contamination risks. 

3) it is illegal to distribute out of date produce because of the health risks.

4) If supermarkets via government directives are made to distribute OOD produce then any DLC within the supply chain becomes irrelevant

5) Anyone falling ill from eating OOD produce would be able to claim against the distributor.

6) Use by dates are there for a reason they are not just made up. Controlled tests are done daily by food suppliers. 


Yes it is a waste but it is a waste caused by the consumers desire for 24/7 supply of products. ie shoppers not happy because something has sold out hence the supermarkets ordering extra and factoring in a throw away %. UK supermarkets factor in 33% on meat.


If it is past it's USE by date today it is still past it's USE by date tomorrow. This means unfit for human consumption however you want to spin it. 


orme2 1456148385

john lydon, are all the rules you set out for the UK or for France?


john lydon 1456232292



À :


 As i said i'm talking meat and all EU countries are covered by the same regs.
The regulations are EU, that is why items carry an EEC number. A Further processor of meat  or a supermarket selling meat imported from outside the EU has also to abide by the same rules. Use by and sell by are determined by standard bacterial testing. You have to have this for your different industry standards,  EFSIS, HACCP, ISO etc etc which without supermarkets will not buy from you.




Companies spend thousands on testing, do people actually think they would do this if it was not for a reason or part of the hygiene/health regs ? Big companies have several people employed doing these tests on an ongoing basis costing hundreds of thousands it's that important. 


If a supermarket near you is selling OOD produce they are breaking the law and putting peoples health at risk and should be reported and prosecuted, once it is out of date it is no longer fit for human consumption.



People are confusing the dates, Best before, sell by date and use by date are not the same. It is illegal to sell OOD produce ie If the sell by has passed or the Use by date has passed , the clue is in the wording.  You can sell if best before date has passed as this is a guide date; A sell by or use by will be shown on the pack as well. 


orme2 1456243443

The new law states that supermarkets are not allowed to throw out food which is 'encore consommable' (still edible), nor is it legal to render edible food inedible on purpose so that you can throw it out.  Therefore your question about food which has gone off is covered - they are not allowed to give away food which would be dangerous to eat.


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