Italy changes law to make all supermarkets give unsold food to needy

independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/italy-food-waste-law-supermarkets-a6931681.html

**Italy is set to pass a law that will make supermarkets donate their waste food to charities.

It will become the second European country to pass such laws after the French introduced a bill in February which bans supermarket throwing away or spoiling unsold food.**

The article continues at the link.

They need something similar here in the US, at all our convenience stores, we sell roller grill items, like hotdogs. we also sell breakfast sandwiches, pizza and burgers, hot and ready to eat, they are kept in a warming oven and only good for 2 hours, then they MUST be thrown in the garbage, they are very strict on control of this too, the number of items thrown out must be logged and reported, they are not allowed to give away freshly expired items, even though they are perfectly fine to eat for someone who is starving.

This makes no sense imo, thankfully, some of our managers will give expired items out to local homeless people, but still, we fill dumpsters with perfectly good food every single day, this amount of waste almost seems sinful to me.


Another over intrusive government regulation that needs to be deleted. It is terrible that the food is thrown out like that, a little more thought given to distribution and it would make a huge difference.

I agree with both prior posts.I am involved in my parishe’s funeral ministry.Oftentimes we have so much food left over that could go to shelters,etc.However this isn’t allowed,so unless we can give it away to church staff orvtske it home ourselves,we have to pitch it.:pensive:

But if supermarkets have to give away food, can you still expect people to pay for it when they can wait a bit and get it for free at a food bank?

I suspect that will not be a problem. People can get food for free at the food bank now, yet they still buy food at the supermarket.

That isn’t actually government regulation, it is business practices for the most part. Customers want perfectly identical fruit and they won’t tolerate “deformities” like carrots not being orange or having any branches.

There is a lot of stigma attached to food banks. If people were that needy that every penny made a difference, then they are probably deserving of the charity, in any case.

I don’t know if this is commonplace in the USA, but our large supermarkets regularly have charity food collections for the homeless, where they have lists of items needed by the charities as you enter the shop (it’s always food with a long shelf-life). People then add them to their own shopping list (if they can afford to do so) and donate them to the charity volunteers as they leave.

I think the Italian law is fantastic, as it provides a whole new source of food for those in need and hopefully would mean that healthy but more expensive food (like fruit) was made available. We all know that pre-packaged apples and oranges have a sell-by date these days, which is fairly meaningless - we take it home, unwrap it and keep it for as long as it’s still OK!

Is this a National or state law? Because we do give it away at our parish and I know the local Sam’s Club donates their day old bread to St. Vincent de Paul in our area. If it is a National law can someone delete this post. :smiley:

It generally comes down to food safety laws. If the food has been cooked or the packaging opened the food is not supposed to be transfered because there is no knowledge of how the food was handled before it was received. In the US, the society is so litigious that one opens themselves to a law suit if they accept an opened package and then use some of it in a soup kitchen.

Many local restaurants here give food away too. We also have had stores donate items. I think it might be local ordinances or state ordinances that make things like impossible.

It looks like food banks and soup kitchens are considered “retail food establishments” by the FDA. As such they are required to follow FDA requirements on how food is handled and the sources of the food (including transport). Here is just one part of the regulations: FDA Food Code. when I worked for a restaurant I know we had a very strict list of what could and couldnt be given away. If it was cooked it had to be maintained at a certain temperature until it was given to the final consumer. If the soup kitchen did not have hot boxes to maintain the temperature it wasnt supposed to be transfered. This was to comply with FDA and local Department of Health regulation.

I suspect many places do give away food, which I think is good. But if someone gets sick and the FDA or Health Department investigates both the food kitchen and restaurant will have safety inspectors crawling over them with a microscope.

They do this in the USA and with food banks/shelters. The issue is expiration dates as the banks can’t give out food with past expiration dates. I don’t know how this is handled in Italy.

I suspect many places do give away food, which I think is good. But if someone gets sick and the FDA or Health Department investigates both the food kitchen and restaurant will have safety inspectors crawling over them with a microscope.

True and the inspection is exactly the same and strict as you say. But its quite common for the restaurants to work with the shelters and donate excess food from the night especially at mass events where food is in abundance such as catering and so forth. But this goes right away. Little different than a food bank.

It most certainly is government regulation. Food safety laws are so stringent that perfectly good food is thrown out because of bureaucratic regulations. And lawsuits are another nightmare. Someone gets sick and they look for a payday. Many businesses rightfully consider the costs involved and the risk to the company if they are hit with lawsuits for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

You know this is an odd phenom in the states. Not so much with food but with anything dated such as cosmetics dated or older model items not selling. These are taken off the shelves for example at CVS or Walmart and wind up warehoused and sold by pallets at a pallet cost often a dollar or 50 cents a piece and re-sold for profit at high volume. Lots of this winds up in Job Lot or Dollar stores or small business and imho is suspect to say the least.

Right. In the case of Jeanne S, where she is talking about food from the funeral ministry having to be thrown out, it would seem to fall under the FDA regulation that no food establishment can provide food from a private home. That is what limits it’s ability to be transferred to a food bank or soup kitchen.

It is certainly possible to transfer food in the US but there are generally very strict guidelines at the local, state and federal levels. Restaurants and stores will do what they can to comply since they can lose their license or face heavy fine. In some cases the cost of compliance is too high for small amounts of food (say 4 hot dogs or a handful of burgers). Other food stuffs that have a longer shelf life are easier to handle because of reduced risks of bacterial contamination.

If I were a supermarket, I’d be wondering what additional legal liability this opens me up to and whether the government will protect me from it.

Sounds good, I think we have to admit with US and Italy we are talking different animals also. Its hard to discern then compare the two.

I am for common sense and less local, state, federal bureaucracy. Its all gotten out of control of the people. There are so many regulations, policies, and procedures that we are loosing our freedoms Even children in our schools are forbidden to exercise being a child.
Its an automatic court case if a child points a finger as an imaginary gun or chews a pop tart into a “shape”. Youngest children are accused of sexual impropriety if they are sweetly giving a hug. The food served in the school cafeteria is not appealing to children so they do not eat the broccoli and cauliflower, humus and celery sticks. A student that revealed she hadn’t eaten and was very hungry but had no money, was given lunch and the school lunch lady was fired! On and on it goes!

Time to clean house.

So, its actually big Govt trying to intrude on and control every little thing? lol I should have figured this. Its a shame common sense is not applied.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.