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Italy adopts new law to slash food waste

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Staff Writer | August 4, 2016
Maria Chiara Gadda
Italian food   Easier for shops and restaurants to give food

Italy's upper house passed a raft of new legislation designed to combat food waste across the country.

“The new laws make it easier for shops and restaurants to give excess food away to charitable causes,” Democratic Party politician, Maria Chiara Gadda, who championed the bill, told La Repubblica.

Bureaucracy has been streamlined, allowing businesses to donate their excess by filling out a simple monthly form noting any donations made. New laws also allow them to donate food that is passed its sell-by date, without risking sanctions for health and safety violations.

To further encourage businesses to give away their un-needed food, donors will get generous reductions in their waste taxes in line with how much they give away.

But the new laws will have implications for consumers too, mostly for those who eat at restaurants.

A new €1 million campaign will see the government push restaurants to provide so-called 'family bags' so that diners can take their unfinished food home.

The widespread use of 'doggy bags' isn't really part of Italian food culture, but the scheme has been successfully piloted in the Veneto region over the last year and will now be rolled-out nationwide

Italy's Agriculture Ministry will invest €1 million to research new ways to package foods in a bid to protect them better in transit and boost their shelf-life, while state broadcaster RAI will embark on a public information campaign to get citizens to waste less food.

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