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Fines and free 'doggy bags': Spain steps up fight against food waste

Tapas and beers are served at a restaurant in the Andalusian capital of Seville, southern Spain
Tapas and beers are served at a restaurant in the Andalusian capital of Seville, southern Spain Copyright Credit: Reuters
Copyright Credit: Reuters
By Euronews with AP, AFP
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Spain wastes 1.36 million tonnes of food and drink each year, its government says.

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Bars and restaurants in Spain could be forced to offer customers free "doggy bags" as part of a new draft law aimed at reducing food waste.

Supermarkets and businesses could also face fines of up to €60,000 if they fail to reduce the amount of food they throw away.

Spain's government approved the legislation on Tuesday. Parliament must now green light it before it can come into effect.

If passed, stores and supermarkets would be asked to reduce the price of products that are approaching their "best before" date. 

Mechanisms should also be set up to donate unwanted food to NGOs and food banks, according to the proposed law.

If products are no longer recommended for consumption, they should also be channelled toward use as animal feed or in the industrial production of fertilisers and biofuel.

Spain's agriculture, fisheries and food minister Luis Planas said the bill was aimed at “regulating and raising awareness”.

"In a world where, unfortunately, hunger and malnutrition exist, these issues weigh on everyone's conscience," he said after the Council of Ministers meeting.

According to the government, Spain wastes 1.36 million tonnes of food and drink each year -- equivalent to around 31 kilograms per person and a loss of some €250 euros for each resident.

Planas added that only France and Italy in the European Union already have similar legislation in place.

The European Union has recently pledged to halve food waste by consumers and industry in the bloc by 2030, in line with UN targets.

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