Italy passes law to make businesses give unsold food to charity

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In the face of region-wide austerity, EU nations are one by one overturning the conventions of food waste by legislating the sharing and donation of edible food. Italy is the most recent country to join the momentum, by passing a law that reduces taxes for food donors.

Italy is expected to pass a food regulation bill on Monday which allows supermarkets, restaurants and cafe’s to donate their unsold produce to food banks and charities.

Where before restaurants and supermarkets in Italy wanting to donate food had to announce their donations in advance, this new law incentivises donation by reducing taxes for businesses based on the size of their donation. Bigger donations are awarded with bigger reductions.

Italy’s waste problem currently costs the country €12bn Euros in processing fees. It is hoped that this initiative will reduce these costs.

Maurizio Martina, Italy’s agriculture minister, said “We are making it more convenient for companies to donate than to waste. We currently recover 550 million tonnes of excess food each year but we want to arrive at one billion in 2016.”

The law will also allow businesses to give away food after its ‘best before’ date has expired, within reasonable limits.

The push to reduce Europe’s food waste has been gaining momentum since last year’s COP21 Paris summit. France announced in February that it would fine businesses who did not donate unsold food, and UK supermarket Tesco have promised to give unsold food to charity and have even launched a digital platform to help other businesses do so. Social enterprises like OLIO are also joining in.

French politician Arash Derambarsh is one of such people behind this legislative push. His petition for legislation received over 750,000 signatures.

Peter Lehner explains the perils of the worldwide food waste epidemic in this TEDx talk.

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Photo Credit: Patrick Kuhl on Flickr.

Video Credit: TedxTalks on Youtube.

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