A new bill is being proposed in Spain that seeks to curb its food waste problem. The bill would require everyone within the food supply chain, from farmer to restaurant, to take part in curbing food waste. For restaurants, that means offering doggy-bags to patrons to take home portions of uneaten food, a common practice here in the U.S., but hardly done at all in Spain.
For both restaurants and supermarkets, it will mean the compulsory act of partnering up with a food bank so as to be able to donate food close to expiration. Supermarkets would also have to reduce the prices of foods close to their due-date, something that is fairly common in American supermarkets.
Here in New Jersey, ShopRite, one of the state’s largest supermarket chains, donates nearly-expired and expired foods to food banks and rescues within their stores’ communities. It also commonly sells foods close to their best-buy date at reduced prices.
In this new Spanish proposal, any foods unfit for human consumption would be required to first be fed to livestock. Anything unfit for animal consumption would have to go toward the creation of bio-fuels and fertilizers.
It is estimated that Spain wastes 1.36 million metric-tons of food each year, or about 31 kilos per person, although, it is admitted by Spanish officials that the bulk of that comes from households. That is a problem, they say, that will be addressed with educational campaigns only.
Fines will be used on businesses, however. Those that don’t somehow reduce their food waste or comply with the compulsory measures could see fines of up to €60,000. Repeat offenders could face up to €500,000 fines.
If approved by parliament, the hope is that this law will go into effect by early 2023.