Spain wants to criminalize wasting food. The left-leaning government approved a bill at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday that would impose fines of between €2,000 and €60,000 on all companies in the production and distribution chain that produce avoidable food waste. The law is to be presented to Parliament in Madrid in the next few days and will come into force at the beginning of 2023 according to the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, highlighted the “pioneering” of the “Food Loss and Waste Prevention Law” in the EU. Only France and Italy have similar rules. According to the ministry, a good 1.36 million tons of food are thrown away in Spain every year. That is around 30 kilograms per citizen.

According to the law, restaurants and pubs should offer their guests free “doggy bags” so that they can take home food that has not been eaten. Larger food companies should develop plans to reduce waste. Supermarkets are being urged to lower prices as the sell-by date approaches. Food donations to food banks and other support groups should also be better organized.