* This post is part of an ongoing series, "Food Waste Around the Globe." To see all related posts, click here.
On June 14th, 2013, the Minister of Agriculture, Guillaume Garot, signed a National Pact to eliminate half of France’s food waste by 2025. The National Pact outlines 11 steps the country plans to take in order to meet this aspiring goal. Here are a few unique ideas and initiatives demonstrated in the Pact that encourage French citizens to become more aware about their own consumption and how they can reduce food waste.
Step 8 of the Pact explains the implementation of two specific dates on each food product: a “Best Before Date,” abbreviated as DLUO (la date limite d’utilisation optimale), and an expiration date labeled DLC (la date limite de consommation). The best before date lets the consumer know that the food product may not taste as good or have the best quality however, is still edible. (You can eat or use the food product and it will not be hazardous to your health.) The expiration date indicates when the food product is no longer safe to consume. This promotes people to save their food’s quality by storing it in the fridge and only opening the product when they plan on eating it within a couple of days or before the DLUO date.
As part of measure nine, the Ministry of agriculture, food and forestry has launched an anti-food waste Web campaign. This campaign uses online ads, radio interviews with the minister, and short online video ads to educate citizens on national food waste. The picture below is one of the ads used in the campaign to illustrate how perfectly good tasting food goes to waste due to its appearance.
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The ad highlights that each French household throws out 20-30kg of food per year, which equates to 44-66 pounds per year! This food waste makes up more than 400 euros (around $542 USD) for one family of four. Around 50% of the foods wasted are fruits and vegetables that are often thrown out because of their appearance.
In signing the National Pact, Garot, the City of Paris, and other signers organized a festive event on October 16, 2013, centered on controlling food waste and getting French citizens to take a stand in limiting their own waste. Tents lined the streets with chefs preparing and teaching Parisians what they could do with their food scraps so they don’t just end up in the trash. Over 5,000 people attended the event and many took pictures with signs that said how they save their food.
This National Pact makes France a superhero in saving edible food from the trash can. The country is on its way to meet its distinguished goal by 2025 and is now a leading country for supplying food banks with consumable food products. Remember, Manger c’est bien, jeter ça craint! Eat what is good, to throw it away sucks!
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