In line with some US-based organizations created to give completely free food to the poor, France recently passed a law that bans supermarkets from throwing away unsold food, and instead behooves them to donate it to charity or to give it to hungry animals in shelters.
This law is meant to crack down on food waste. In 2010, Americans wasted some 133 billion pounds of food. In a 430 billion pound food supply, that’s about one-third of the whole wasted. Economically, it’s about $165 billion in food wastage – all while ‘feeding the homeless’ is increasingly becoming illegal. What will the US do to stop this unnecessary waste?
The French national assembly voted unanimously to pass the legislation as France battles an epidemic of wasted food that has highlighted the financial disparity between the CEOs and upper management of big food corporations and every-day people struggling to get enough to eat.
Many grocery stores simply destroy perfectly good food when it could be used to feed those in poverty. The USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist states:
“Gleaning—the act of collecting excess fresh foods from farms, gardens, farmers markets, or any other source in order to provide it to those in need—is an important source of fresh produce for food insecure families. In 2011, for example, the USDA gleaned 900,000 pounds of fresh produce for the Feds Feed Families Food Drive.”
While 900,000 pounds of food is nothing to sneeze at, 55 million TONS of food is still being wasted.
According to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council 40% of food in the United States is never eaten, amounting to $165 billion a year in waste, taking a toll on the country’s water resources and adding to pollution.
When you consider a big chunk of the $3.9 TRILLION that the government will spend on food stamps, SNAP, and other programs for the growing poor, all while still denying most citizens basics like water, shouldn’t we be turning our trash to treasure?
A petition that will be sent to the Washington Governor, Jay Inslee, and the Washington State Legislature will urge companies in the US to donate food like they do in France. This would take the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act one step further, protecting companies from lawsuits, and stopping the food waste.
Natural Society is a big supporter of helping those in need – especially when in this case, the food would otherwise be completely wasted. In addition to often donating a percentage of our sales to organizations that will help feed the world, Natural Society’s Anthony Gucciardi has personally donated 20,000 meals to U.S. food banks to help with the issue.
You can sign the petition here.