Brussels supermarkets to be obliged to donate unsold food

From 2024, large supermarkets in Brussels will be obliged to donate unsold food that can still be consumed to organisations providing food aid to those in need. The measure will apply to more than 100 stores, according to Brussels minister for Welfare, Alain Maron (Ecolo), who announced the news on Tuesday.

In a press release, Maron said the Brussels government had given the green light to a draft ordinance on Thursday, and that making donations compulsory should help to increase the food stocks of charities that help the most disadvantaged. 

“When you consider that 70,000 people need food aid in Brussels alone, it is unacceptable that we are still throwing away tonnes of edible food,” he said. “I believe that as long as the associations working in food aid need these stocks of unsold food, we must do everything we can to support their day-to-day work in the fight against poverty.” ​ 

The ruling applies to food that is unsold on the day before it reaches its sell-by date, and supermarkets will sign agreements with food aid associations. 

Nearly 59 million tonnes of food (131 kg/inhabitant) is wasted in the EU each year, with more than half of waste generated by households. The EU is calling for a 30 per cent reduction in food waste by 2030 as part of its Green Deal on sustainability. 


The Episol food bank in Brussels © ARIS OIKONOMOU / AFP

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