New legislation bans stores from tossing unsold products.

By James Oliver Cury
Updated May 24, 2017
Meat Counter Carrefour
Credit: © Kumar Sriskandan / Alamy Stock Photo

What do supermarkets do with unsold but unspoiled foods? In France, workers used to ruin products at the end of the day by applying bleach, among other things, to keep foragers away. Not a very humane way to deal with overstock in a world full of hungry people.

Now, for the first time in European history, new legislation has been passed that requires French shops to donate leftover food to charity. Stores larger than 4,305 square feet must sign deals with local food banks or face a fine of up to 75,000 Euros (around $83,787).

World population is projected to rise from 7 to 9 billion people by 2050, according to the World Food Programme. And humans waste between 30 and 50 percent of food produced. Activists are calling for other countries in the European Union to implement similar mandates.

What can you do about all of this? Cut down on food waste in your own kitchen by learning to make the most of fruit and vegetable peels, cheese rinds, leek scraps and stems.