The government's first step in achieving its goal is to ban supermarkets from tossing or destroying unsold food.

Instead, the goods can be used to aid local charities or farms, and feed many who cannot afford to purchase the items.

The French National Assembly unanimously passed a new amendment to a green energy law yesterday, May 21, which prohibits supermarkets from getting rid of edible foods.

Any market over 400 square meters in will be obliged to sign formal contracts with charities by July next year, The Guardian reported.

Any food past its sell by date should also be sent for composting, anaerobic digestion or for use as animal feed - rather than disposal, according to Resource.

If stores choose not to abide by the new law, there will penalties, such as fines of up to €75,000 (£53,000) or two years in jail.

"It's scandalous to see bleach being poured into supermarket dustbins along with edible foods," said socialist deputy Guillaume Garot, a former food minister.

The new law will also introduce a program designed to educate students in schools, as well as employers and employees in business settings.

The new law has already received criticism, despite its attempt to stop wasting valuable resources.

"The law is wrong in both target and intent, given the big stores represent only 5% of food waste but have these new obligations," said Jacques Creyssel, head of the Fédération du Commerce et de la Distribution, which represents large supermarkets. "They are already the pre-eminent food donors, with more than 4,500 stores having signed agreements with aid groups."

The overall environment bill is still under discussion, and will need to go to the Senate for final approval, which is scheduled for May 26. (The amendment on food waste is just a small portion of the government's plans for the future).