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Food, Instagram, and Memes: INSTAGRAM | @IFACTS.DAILY It's illegal for supermarkets in France to waste food. Supermarkets must either compost it or donate unsold or nearly expired goods to charity. France has become the world's first country to ban supermarket waste and compel large retailers to donate unsold food. While many charities hail the legislation, some worry about their capacity to handle the extra food. In a refrigerated room of the massive Carrefour supermarket in western Paris, director Soed Toumi points to carts piled high with food: Packs of yoghurt and pudding, slightly stale pastries, and baguettes. In a matter of hours, the food will be carted away for distribution to the needy. Legislation passed in February makes France the world's first country to ban supermarket waste and compel large retailers like Carrefour to donate unsold food – or face a fine of 3,750 euros ($ 4,230). The law is a first stab at rethinking consumption practices in a country where an estimated 7 million tons of food is thrown away each year. While consumers are the biggest culprits, restaurants and stores account for about a quarter of food waste. But when it comes to her store, Toumi says the law doesn't change much. The supermarket donates the equivalent of 320,000 meals each year to four local charities. "We've already been fighting against waste," she says. "But if the law allows others to follow our example, why not?" Not all French supermarkets boast similar practices. The average store is believed to throw away roughly 20 kilos of unsold food each day. Some have reportedly poured bleach on products, rendering them inedible – ostensibly to avoid food poisoning and legal problems.

France has become the world's first country to ban supermarket waste and compel large retailers to donate unsold food. While many charities ...