Frenchman takes fight against supermarket food waste abroad

Frenchman takes fight against supermarket food waste abroad

PARIS - A local councillor whose zealous anti-waste campaign led to a French law forcing supermarkets to give leftover food to charity is now preparing a petition to take the legislation Europe-wide.

And he doesn't plan on stopping there.

Arash Derambarsh, 35, whose parents fled the Iranian revolution to France where he was born, says he is driven by "rage" and the memory of struggling to fill his stomach as a poor law student.

His plan is simple: reducing world hunger by getting supermarkets to stop dumping their unwanted food.

"You can say it's naive, you can say it is idealistic, but what I am proposing is realistic," he told AFP.

French lawmakers voted in May to stop supermarkets from discarding leftover food, tonnes of which ends up in dustbins every day.

Stores bigger than 400 square metres (4,300 square feet) will be forced to sign contracts with charities by July 2016 to take their unwanted food, or face fines of up to 75,000 euros (S$110,000).

Food not fit for consumption will have to be used for animal feed or compost.

But it is the part of the law that forces stores to give unwanted food to any association who asks for it that Derambarsh considers his personal victory.

The local councillor in the town of Courbevoie just outside Paris in January launched his petition on the website demanding such a law, which got some 211,000 signatures and caught the government's eye.

Derambarsh is now launching the petition throughout Europe next week.

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