Spain to enforce ‘doggybag’ option in bars and restaurants

MADRID (AP) — Bars and restaurants in Spain will be obliged to offer “doggybags” free of charge to clients to take home the food they have not eaten under a new law aimed at reducing food waste.

Under the new bill passed by the Spanish government Tuesday, businesses in the food chain will have to draw up plans to try to reduce the amount of food wasted or else face possible fines.

Stores and supermarkets will be asked to reduce the price on products as their date limit for recommended consumption approaches and also reach agreements with neighborhood organizations and food banks for the donation of such products to help the needy.

Once past the “best before” date, the law recommends that foodstuffs be channeled toward use as animal feed or in the industrial production of fertilizers and biofuel.

Agriculture Fisheries and Food Minister Luis Planas said the law was aimed at “regulating and raising awareness,” so as to reduce the 1.3 million kilos (1,400 tons) of food wasted in the country each year. He said this represented 31 kilograms per person, which amounted to a loss of some 250 euros ($265) for each person.

He said only France and Italy in the European Union already have similar legislation. Planas said he hoped the bill would be approved by parliament and in force by Jan. 1, 2023.

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