Norms and regulations

Fight against food wastage: a new law for Italy

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

Unlike the similar French norm, the Italian law employs incentives, not sanctions. All the details.

Recovering and donating food instead of wasting it: this is not only a great idea, but also officially a law. After the first approval by the Chamber of Deputies last March, the Senate definitively passed a measure against food wastage. A similar norm has already been adopted in France, 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.

According to Last Minute Market, every year in Italy 76 kg of food per capita go waste, for a total of 1.3 billion tons of wasted food, which generates 170 billion tons of CO2. Moreover, the cultivation of the food that is eventually wasted occupies14 million sq km of farmland. If this surface were a country, it would be the third biggest in the world after Russia and Canada.

The anti-wastage law defines the terms of food “excess” and “wastage” for the first time in the Italian normative system. 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 until 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).

Read the norm (Italian)

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