Pascal Xicluna /

Whether it be through banning the use of plastic in tableware, vegetarian meals, organic products, or fighting against food waste, France’s Egalim law that was adopted in October 2018 includes numerous measures for institutional catering. Some of them are already in place, while other will take effect in the coming months. Discover the scope and details of each of these different measures.

50% of high-quality, sustainable products, of which at least 20% are organic

The catering services of schools, universities, health and penitentiary institutions must, starting January 2022, provide at least 20% of organic products, and at least 50 % of high quality and sustainable food, that includes products:

  • Benefitting from an official sign of quality and origin (such as geographical indication, and organic agriculture)
  • Being certified for high-environmental value (a voluntary label whose framework was designed by the French Government) or for being made in a farm
  • Coming from fishing benefitting from the Sustainable Fishery Ecolabel
  • Containing the label “Outermost Region”
  • Coming from fair trade and local food projects

Diversifying protein sources

This measure is addressed to school cafeterias serving 200 meals per day or more, cafeteria managers are required to present to their leadership structures a multiyear plan for diversifying protein sources, including plant based alternatives, in the meals they propose.

During a two-year trial period, school cafeterias are required to propose at least one vegetarian meal per week.

Replacing plastics

By January 1st, 2020, at the latest, providing the following single-use plastics (except those that are compostable in household compost made primarily of bio-sourced materials) will be forbidden in both public and private institutional catering: Cups, glasses, plates, straws, silverwarelids, meal trays, tubs, salad bowls, and mixing sticks. Plastic water bottles are banned on the same date in school cafeterias. By January 1, 2025, using plastic cooking, reheating, or service ware is banned in school and university cafeterias.

Fighting food waste and encouraging donations

Since Oct. 2019, the obligation to put in place steps against food waste has been extended to private institutional catering establishments.

Additionally, it is now forbidden for institutional catering establishments to render edible food products inedible starting January 2020. And since 2019, institutional catering establishments have been required to make a good faith effort to establish an agreement with a local food charity to donate unsold food.