Worldwide Wednesday: France vs. The Skip Dippers

ThinkProgress says France will ban supermarkets from tossing food in the trash, no doubt much to the dismay of gourmands who have even made haute cuisine cook books of dumpster derived delights.   The news paints this as a victory against food waste, but Mikee says it is just an effort by the French government to discourage bin-diving, containering, shopping at the D-mart, dumpstering, tatting, skipping, or as they say in Australia “skip dipping.”

Grocery stores in France will soon be banned from throwing away or destroying unsold food, under a bill passed unanimously by the French parliament last week.

Food waste costs countries around the world billions of dollars each year and is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, but France’s action was spurred by another type of crisis. Mired in an economic slump, France has seen an growing number of people living off food scavenged from waste bins outside grocery stores, which has prompted an outcry from aid workers and activists.

“There’s an absolute urgency — charities are desperate for food. The most moving part of this law is that it opens us up to others who are suffering,” Assemblymember Yves Jégo told parliament.

Under the law, which will go into effect in July of next year, French supermarkets will have to give unsold food away to charities or donate it for use in animal feed or compost.

But while the law might help get food into the bellies of those who need it, in terms of overall waste, the step may be more symbolic than effective. In France, 7.1 million metric tons of food is wasted each year, but only 11 percent is thrown out by food retailers. The bulk of it, 67 percent, is thrown away by consumers, and 15 percent is tossed by restaurants, the Guardian reports.