QS proposes an Anti-Food Waste Act for large retailers

QS proposes an anti-food waste law for large retailers

Québec solidaire proposes to adopt a law that would require large retailers to donate their unsold products to community organizations in instead of throwing it in the trash, when 1.2 million tons of food are wasted every year in Quebec. It’s a scandal, according to Québec solidaire (QS).

The MP for Verdun and responsible for QS in matters of Agriculture and Food, Alejandra Zaga Mendez, proposes Bill 393 to fight against this food waste. This Act could help reduce unsold food in Quebec by 50% by 2030, according to the party's calculations.

This is an investigation by the daily Le Soleil concerning “thousands of recyclable containers still full  who encouraged the opposition party to work on this bill. “It’s unacceptable for businesses to fill their garbage cans with unsold food while thousands of Quebecers live with empty stomachs,” rages MP Zaga Mendez.

Bad luck

Bill 393 would require large food processing, distribution and retail companies to enter into agreements to reduce the waste of unsold products with recognized organizations. Smaller businesses could be exempted or supported by the Government of Quebec.

The CAQ, majority in the National Assembly, will it follow up on the approach of QS? The member for Verdun has doubts, insofar as, “generally speaking, legislative proposals that come from opposition parties are shelved,” she admits in an interview with Métro.

When I questioned the Minister of the Environment, Benoit Charrette, on the issue, he said that he was concerned and even angry. He knew the problem and I reached out to him.

Alejandra Zaga Mendez, Solidarity MP for Verdun

She deplores despite everything that we are “still in support measures, whereas if we had a law we would not be here today”. “We must do it for the planet and in a spirit of food security,” argues the MP for Verdun.

Even without law, some retailers do it

While 15% of food in Quebec ends up being wasted when it could still be eaten, community organizations in poor neighborhoods are struggling to get by. The organization Les Fourchettes de l'espoir, in Montreal North, mainly does food processing and could prepare good dishes with its unsold products from major retailers. According to their good will, the latter sometimes donate a little of their surplus.

“These are not official agreements, but when they have surpluses, they call us,” confirms Brunilda Reyes, director of Forks. “It depends on the period, but now, with inflation, it is less. Because they have better control over their inventory and their surplus.”

In Saint-Michel, another neighborhood where people have more difficulty fighting inflation, a few companies sometimes make donations to the Center Lassalien . But you have to be persistent. “It's case by case,” said Paul Evra, head of the Center. “We have to do canvassing, we have to go get them, otherwise they won't do it”.

It is estimated that nearly 40% of food waste could be used to feed the population instead of molding in dumpsters.

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