The Atlantic weighed in on the new French solution to the apparent food crisis, and they nailed it.
Before we get started though, let’s all take a moment to recognise how ridiculous the French situation is – forcing supermarkets to “donate” wasted food to farmers for agricultural use. Is there any reason French farmers need greater government subsidy? Is there any reason they shouldn’t be buying the stock they need to grow crops or raise cattle?
One thing that isn’t mentioned is how clear it is that legislation in the area just isn’t working. By forcing supermarkets to donate food past its sell-by date, a government is saying one of two things: either the margin of safety offered by a sell-by (or use-by) date is too wide, marking an over-regulation in food retail and one that should be remedied, or they value the health and safety of the poor less than that of the rich.
Supermarkets destroy food at the end of the day because it’s gone past its sell-by date – at that point the government has declared it unfit to eat. If that’s the case – why turn around and get it sent off to homeless shelters, food banks, and soup kitchens to feed the poor? Does it not matter? If meat isn’t fit to be sold in a supermarket – because some time period between slaughter and sale has passed – why is it suddenly a moral imperative to give it away?
Of course supermarkets should be free to donate food to the poor – of course. But let’s not make them out to be the bad guys. Let’s say “allow”, not “force”.
Surely the issue is that the food isn’t bad. So maybe instead of a knee-jerk response to an emotive topic, government should re-assess the dating and labelling system of perishable food.