In a move that is aimed to reduce wastage of food, lawmakers in China are drafting an anti-food waste law to discourage restaurants that promote or enable wastage of food.
As reported by The Guardian, a draft of the legislation was submitted on Tuesday to the highest legal committee i.e, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. If the restaurants “order excessive meals and cause obvious waste”, then they will be penalised by the authorities. Additionally, they can also charge an extra amount from customers if they leave the meal unfinished.
This is seen as a part of the Operation empty plate, which has been started by the President of China Xi Jinping. To control the wastage of food, mukbang videos are banned in China. In these videos, people record themselves while they eat an unlimited quantity of food in front of them. Another step taken to reduce food wastage is that the restaurant owners can provide one less dish to diners than the number of people in the group.
When the draft of the law is approved, restaurants failing to reduce food wastage can be fined up to 10,000 yuan which is equal to Rs 1,12,559. Not only restaurants and diners, the draft law also aims to discourage media that promotes overeating. A fine of up to 100,000 Yuan (Rs 11,25,599) can be imposed on those organisations, whether TV, digital or radio who promote overeating despite warnings by the authorities. Their business may also be suspended in order for them to rectify the issues.
However, the reactions to this proposed law are not entirely positive. The report says that while one person considers this law to be “idealistic,” another says that it is “catering to the leadership.”
Some people in China are also concerned about the cases when the food is unpalatable and want the lawmakers to consider this aspect as well. It is also a cause for concern that some restaurants might start providing lower portions of food for high costs.
It was found that 17 to 18 million tons of food was wasted by the residents of Beijing and Shanghai. Majority of the food which was wasted included rice and noodles. As much as 18 percent of the food wasted was meat. These findings were published in a report by the China Academy Science in 2015.