The French parliament has approved a new large-scale reform of the country’s agriculture and food policy. The government proposed this law based on ideas that came out of the Estates-General of Food, a major series of summits based around improving France’s agriculture and food policies.
A significant part of the law is devoted to ensuring fair incomes for farmers and better sharing the value created by agricultural production. This included a new tool for price construction that is based on the costs of production and market prices.
The law also contains several elements for strengthening environment and sanitary impacts of agricultural production. This includes the legal and economic separation of the sale of pesticides from agricultural advice and protecting people that live near agricultural zones from pesticide exposure.
Additionally, the law significantly reinforces France’s commitment to animal welfare. The law includes a provision to double the penalties associated with animal abuse and the possibility of animal protection organizations to sue on behalf of animals. In addition, there will now be a requirement that slaughterhouses name an animal protection manager who will have the role of sounding the alarm on any animal abuse, as well as experimentation in using video surveillance in slaughterhouses. Finally, France now bans any new egg production facilities that use battery cages from coming online.
Finally, the law also continues France’s engagements in sustainable agriculture in food. The law stipulates that by 2022, at least 50% of all food served in institutional catering (schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) must be local or benefit from a geographic or quality sign (including organic). Additionally, the obligation that supermarkets donate unused or unsold food to charities will now be extended to institutional catering, and all restaurants will be required to provide to-go boxes for uneaten food in restaurants. France is also making major commitments to reduce the use of plastic in food products, including banning any use of plastic in institutional catering by 2025, banning plastic straws or stirring utensils in all restaurants and food businesses in 2020, and banning plastic bottles in school cafeterias in 2020.