Unsold food must be donated to food banks, rules Czech court

Unsold food must be donated to food banks, rules Czech court

A Czech law mandating that a portion of unsold food goods be donated to food banks had come under fire since being adopted in 2016, but the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic upheld the amendment yesterday.

According to the law, an amendment to the Czech Food and Tobacco Products Act, goods that do not meet certain retail standards (such as packaging or labelling) but are otherwise safe to consume must be given to non-profit organizations for charitable purposes.



The law only applies to stores larger than 400 square meters in size.

Former Minister of Agriculture Marian Jurečka, who introduced the amendment in 2016, said on Twitter that the law now helps more than 100,000 people in the Czech Republic.

While critics do not oppose the intent of the law, they compare the forced turnover to expropriation of goods by the state. They have claimed it represents an unconstitutional infringement on the business and property rights of the retailers.

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Yesterday, the Czech Constitutional Court heard a draft opposing the law prepared by 25 Czech senators.

Ruling in favor of the law, the Court has deemed that it does not represent an infringement on property rights and falls in line with international efforts to reduce food waste, protect the environment, and help the needy.

According to the Czech Federation of Food Banks, the law has strengthened cooperation between retailers and food banks. Since the beginning of 2018, the amount of donations to food banks has tripled.

Lucas Němec

Prague-based author with two decades experience living in and writing about the Czech Republic for local and international sites and publications. Nakládaný hermelín enthusiast and frequent Club-Mate drinker.

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