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Italy set to pass a set of laws that would offer tax breaks for preventing food waste

Posted at 3:15 PM, Mar 15, 2016

Looking to simultaneously reduce food waste and tackle hunger, Italy is set to pass a set of laws that would incentivize supermarkets and restaurants to donate unsold food that would otherwise be wasted.

The new law would offer tax breaks to vendors based on the amount of food they donate to charity. Articles in the bill would also amend food safety regulations and allow businesses to donate food after the “best before” date.

According to The Independent and The Telegraph, food waste costs the Italian economy more than $13 billion each year.

Italy isn’t alone in looking to limit food waste. France passed a similar bill last month, which penalizes restaurants and markets for wasting food, and Denmark recently opened a food waste supermarket, which sells surplus produce at a discounted rate.

A push to reduce food waste is gaining momentum in the United States as well. Starting in April, select Whole Foods markets in California will work with Imperfect Produce to help cut down on food waste, and social media accounts like “Ugly Fruit and Veg” are raising awareness with more than 20,000 followers. About 13 billion pounds of food are thrown out of supermarkets every year.

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.