French MPs have voted unanimously to force supermarkets to give away unsold food that has reached its sell-by date. Shops will also be banned from destroying food products, as they have in the past – sometimes by soaking them in bleach – to prevent them being distributed.
The proposal was passed as part of another law in May but was subsequently annulled by France’s constitutional court because of procedural faults.
It was reintroduced on Wednesday and passed by members of the Assemblée Nationale with support from across the political spectrum. The legislation was described in the house as a “crucial measure for the planet”, at a time when world leaders are thrashing out an agreement at the COP21 climate change summit.
The law will come into effect after it has been rubber-stamped by the Sénat, the upper house of the French parliament, on 13 January.
Arash Derambarsh, a local councillor who has campaigned for the law, said it was “a historic victory”. “It’s extremely rare for a law to be passed so quickly and with unanimous support,” he told the Guardian.
The new legislation allows individuals to set up associations, with the approval of the agriculture ministry, to collect and distribute food. “It means that ordinary citizens can show their solidarity and help distribute this food to those who need it,” said Derambarsh.
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