Italy is about to become the second country in Europe, after France, which will try to address the food waste issue and persuade supermarkets to give away unsold food to charities.
The bill against food waste has strong bilateral support and it needs to be voted by the Senate of the Republic (the Upper Parliament) before being adopted. As with the French law, the Italian legislation wants to associate food waste with donations to charities, but the main difference is the motivation.
The French law outlaws the destruction of unsold but eatable food products by the big super markets of the country. Under the French legislation, supermarkets are forced to donate any unsold but still edible food products to charity or farms. On the other hand, the Italian law, give businesses incentives to donate food. Any bar, restaurant or supermarket which donates unsold food to charities would be offered reductions in rubbish taxes. In addition, the bill will allow businesses to donate food after being expired.
In 2014, Slovenia also introduced a law which allows retailers to continue selling products with long shelf life after the expiry of the “best before” date.
Italy’s Agriculture Minister, Maurizio Martina, told La Repubblica about the new law: “We are making it more convenient for companies to donate than to waste. We currently recover 550 million tons of excess food each year but we want to arrive at one billion in 2016.”
In August, it was reported that the EU annually wastes about 22 million tons of food while a European Resolution against Food Waste is already in place aiming to halve EU food waste by 2025 and to establish a European Year against food waste.