France Fighting Food Waste

According to a new report by the European Union, France is leading the world in its efforts to reduce food waste; it is followed by Sweden, Spain, Germany and Japan. A number of laws have been passed in France to address the problem of discarded food rotting in landfills and releasing greenhouse gases, including barring stores from throwing out unsold food and requiring restaurants to provide doggy bags to customers. The Independent has an interesting article on its website about the situation.

While countries with higher incomes generally did better in the EU study than poorer nations, there were some exceptions. The United States did not do especially well and did not make it into the top 20 countries partially because of throwing out enormous amounts of foods consisting of saturated fats, meat and sugar. The United Arab Emirates came in last in the survey although it has an extremely high average income for its residents.

According to the United Nations, about one third of the world's food supply is thrown away, and when it breaks down the gases released contribute to climate change. Food sustainability has long been seen as a moral issue because there are people starving in the developing world while the developed world throws away much of its food, and now it is increasingly being seen as an environmental one as well.

France is the first country to pass laws related to food waste, and it throws away only roughly two percent of its food every year. The French government, led by environmentalist Emmanuel Macron, wants to reduce this percentage even more.

Food policy experts believe that food sustainability will become a higher priority across the world in coming years. Another factor driving interest in food sustainability is the rising obesity rates around the world, which is tied in with the consumption of unhealthy, unsustainable food.

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