Supermarket food waste 'must be banned by EU and US', demands French politician Arash Derambarsh

'The problem is simple we have food going to waste and poor people who are going hungry'

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The Independent Online

The politician who spearheaded the successful campaign to ban French supermarkets from throwing away unsold food has demanded the EU and the United States follow suit.

Arash Derambarsh, a municipal councillor for the commune of Courbevoie in Paris, believes only legislation can prevent such food waste by large supermarkets.

He told The Independent: "The problem is simple we have food going to waste and poor people who are going hungry."

Now the law has passed unanimously through the French Senate, Mr Derambarsh is calling EU President Jean-Claude Juncker and President Obama to effect similar legislation.

"The only goal of supermarkets is to make money, I respect them as they employ a lot people and help the economy," he said.

"However, today we got a lot of poor people - we have to change."

Prior to the implementation of this law, French supermarkets received tax returns on all unsold food they threw away.

Arash Derambarsh

On opposition to his campaign, he said: "The supermarkets don't like me but I don't care.

"I'm elected, my only interest is the general interest."

He has found support for his campaign across Europe, including from the Mayor of the Sweden's Malmö, Kent Andersson.

Councillor Derambarsh with the Mayor of Malmö, Kent Andersson

On how he and his colleagues managed to get this law passed so quickly, he said: "We made this law thanks to Facebook and Twitter, our online petition and help from other deputies.

"But supermarkets did not take me seriously because I am 'only a city councillor'."

Mr Derambarsh explained that while official figures say there are 10 million people below the poverty line, he said there are hidden number of people who cannot afford three full meals a day.

While a law student, he said he felt "ashamed" that he couldn't afford both lunch and dinner, which he said "created problems at university due to hunger".

The  councillor said many people suffer in silence with food poverty, even hiding it from friends and family. 

Arash Derambarsh alongside fellow volunteers in Paris

He added: I want to call on President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to implement this law. 

"We need the support of the US people to make this happen."