Italy’s government is set to approve a measure that will require supermarkets to donate unsold food to those in need. Following in the footsteps of France, where a similar law became effective earlier this year, the Mediterranean nation seeks to cut down on the enormous amounts of food that go to waste each year. The proposed legislation will require supermarkets to donate unsold or unused food to organizations that use it to feed hungry people, making it a win for the environment, society and the economy.
Italy, a country with a rich culinary culture and population of nearly 60 million people, throws away over 5.1 million tons of food each year. The proposed legislation would require that unsold or unused food be donated to charities rather than thrown away, redirecting some of that waste into a channel that actually helps people. Due to widespread bipartisan support, the bill is expected to advance to the senate some time next week for a final vote, after it passes in parliament.
Elsewhere in the EU, similar efforts have been enacted to reduce annual food waste, much of which stems from the retail sector. France recently became the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away food, and French politician Arash Derambarsh is pushing for similar legislation over the entire EU. Last year, UK supermarket chain Tesco announced its own initiative for donating unsold food to women and children in need. Last month, Denmark opened its first discount store selling expired and damaged goods, as a stop-gap for the growing food waste problem.