Norms and regulations

Italy passes a new anti-wastage law

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

Incentives and simplifications for those who use second-hand food products, medications and clothes that are still fit for consumption.

The first Italian law against wastage has officially entered into force. The new law, technically Law 166, has been approved on August 19th and published on the Parliament’s Official Gazette on the 30th of the same month. Its aim is to promote the reuse of used food, medications and clothes.

This regulation is actually meant above all as a tool against food wastage: most parts of the law concern this issue, following France’s example.

The anti-wastage law defines the terms of food “excess” and “wastage” for the first time in the Italian normative system. “Excess” refers to the products that were left aside along the agrifood chain but are still apt for consumption, while “wastage” refers to products that are left unsold in stores and supermarkets just before expiry or on their expiry date, and can still be used if correctly preserved.

These are the main novelties:

  • It will be possible to deduct the VAT on donated goods.
  • There will be a reduction of the waste tax proportionately to the quantity of food collected by participating associations.
  • A summary of the food donated has to be given every month. Until now it was necessary to fill in a declaration for the sanitary authorities five days before donating the food, while now this declaration will not be required for food donations under €15 thousand of value.
  • Bread can be donated up to 24 hours after its production.
  • Restaurants will allow customers to take home their food leftovers with the so-called “family bag”.
  • € 2 billion have been allocated for 2016 for the Impoverished Citizens Working Group, and € 1 billion more has been allocated for each of the two funds which will focus on innovative anti-waste food packaging and on the promotion of the “family bag” in restaurants.
  • Food can now be donated not only by non-profit organizations, but also by public bodies, school/company/hospital canteens, shops, supermarkets, restaurants and enterprises.
  • It will be allowed to donate food, medications and clothes with flawed labels, but only if the label mistakes don’t concern the expiration date or the presence of substances that can cause allergies or intolerances.
  • In order to reduce waste, local grown products will be supported by the Ministry for Agricultural Policies.
  • Charities will be allowed to collect and donate the products remaining in the fields during harvest. The norm also allows the donation of confiscated food products (until now this particular situation was decided on case-by-case by the judge).

A similar norm has already been adopted in France, as mentioned above, with one significant difference: in France the system is based on penalties and sanctions for those who don’t comply, while the Italian system counts on incentives and bureaucracy simplifications.

Read the law (Italian)

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