France Rolls Out Ban On Plastic Packaging For Fruits and Vegetables; Françoise Roch Comments
PARIS, FRANCE - A game-changing announcement was made by France’s environmental ministry yesterday, as a new retail packaging mandate will soon be implemented. As of January 2022, the country will be banning plastic packaging for the majority of fresh fruit and vegetables in an effort to increase sustainability in the food industry.
"We use an outrageous amount of single-use plastic in our daily lives. The circular economy law aims at cutting back the use of throwaway plastic and boost its substitution by other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging," the ministry said, according to a report from Reuters.
The law was presented in February of 2020 and covers roughly 30 fresh produce categories, including leeks, round tomatoes, apples, bananas, and oranges. The ministry reports that approximately 37 percent of fruits and vegetables use packaging materials, and the new mandate is expected to remove one billion plastic components each year.
From a Stateside perspective, this mandate could pose understandable challenges to industry suppliers, as packaging has become a sign of safety for shoppers in the past two years. The French Fruit Sellers Federation reportedly echoes this sentiment.
"Selling loose produce is complicated, as many customers touch the fruit and people do not want their fruit to be touched by other customers," President Françoise Roch stated, noting that suppliers have very little time to transition to cardboard packaging.
The mandate is part of a larger plastic reduction strategy implemented by France. Earlier this year, the country placed a ban on plastic straws, cups, and cutlery. According to the news source, plastic packaging is also expected to be phased out of the supply chain for more delicate produce items by June 2026.
By the end of June 2023, plastic packaging for cherry tomatoes, green beans, and peaches will be phased out, and asparagus, mushrooms, cherries, and more will no longer feature plastic packaging by the end of 2024. Berries are expected to follow in June 2026, and further food system bans will be set in motion.
AndNowUKnow is left to wonder how this new packaging mandate will impact the United States' export of fresh produce to France moving forward. As always, we will keep you posted.