New law against food waste comes into force

Chinese lawmakers voted to adopt an anti food waste law at a session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

Chinese lawmakers on Thursday voted to adopt an anti food waste law at a session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.

The law, aimed at safeguarding the country’s food security, also to effect on Thursday.

It says catering service providers can charge a disposal fee from customers who leave excessive amounts of food, but the rates must be clearly displayed.

Catering service providers are also required to remind customers of food frugality duties. Restaurants found guilty of inducing or misleading behavior that lead to diners wasting food will receive a warning. Serious violators will be fined up to 10,000 yuan (US$1,546).

Bloggers will also be banned from livestreaming binge eating. Media outlets that publish such content will receive a warning, and will be shut down if their violations are deemed severe.

The law also puts forward new requirements for governments to curb food waste.

Local governments at or above the county level shall inform the public on the developments in their anti waste work every year and propose measures to step up the efforts, the law notes.

China’s annual grain output remained above 650 million tons for five consecutive years during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) .

But food waste has been a lingering problem that poses a potential threat to the country’s food security.

Approximately 18 billion kilograms of food is wasted every year in China’s urban catering industry, according to a report based on nationwide field research carried out by NPC deputies.

The country also sees over 35 billion kg of grain loss at pre-consumption stages, including storage, transportation and processing.

To curb food wastage, China has launched a comprehensive “Clear Your Plate” campaign in recent years, with restaurants and canteens displaying anti waste posters and banners and media publishing content that promotes the virtue of frugality.

The new law lays down the basic principles for food consumption and will help build a long-term mechanism to curb food waste, said Yuan Jie, an official with the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee.

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