Thursday 10/28/21
FOOD WASTE DRAFT LAW

Spain restaurants will have to offer customers take away uneaten food

Larger stores must provide a place to display products that are in perfect condition for consumption, but look ugly, such as fruits and vegetables
Fish potatoes fries by Pixabay
Fish potatoes fries by Pixabay

The figure is scary because of its magnitude: Spanish households throw away 1.3 million tons of uneaten food every year, which represents an average of 31 kilos for each inhabitant, according to figures provided by the central government.

Spain has been in recent years the seventh country in the European Union (EU) that wastes the most food.

For these reasons, on Monday the government presented its Draft Law for the Prevention of Food Loss and Waste

The law seeks to limit waste with measures that affect work in stores, bars and restaurants, but also by promoting some changes in consumer habits.

According to the government, the aim is to promote a "drastic reduction in the waste of uneaten food" that ends up in the garbage and to encourage its use for other purposes. 

For the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, it is about tackling a triple waste: economic, environmental and also ethical.

Resell or transform

The minister said that both foods that are approaching the expiration date and the preferred consumption date indicated on the label can be sold, purchased and consumed and should not end up in the garbage.

The top priority is that they be donated to non-profit organizations or food banks for consumption by those who need them.

Those foods that are not sold but that are in optimal consumption conditions will have to be transformed into others, such as juices, jams or creams.

If they are not suitable for human consumption, it is proposed that they be used as a by-product of the manufacture of animal feed, for the industry, for obtaining composting or biogas or another type of fuel.

Bars, restaurants, stores

Luis Planas pointed out that there are products with expired preferential consumption dates, such as virgin olive oil, that are still edible. These items must be presented to the consumer separately and clearly differentiated from the rest, with lower prices, or used for donation.

Hospitality establishments, such as bars and restaurants, will have to offer their customers the possibility of taking away, at no additional cost, what they have not consumed.

Stores with a surface area of more than 400 square meters will have to set up a place to place products that are in perfect condition for consumption, but look ugly. Minister Planas said as an example that there are fruits or vegetables with poor presentation, but they are edible and suitable for consumption.

With this law, Spain will be the third country in the EU to legislate on food waste, after France and Italy.

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