Italian deputies Thursday approved a new law aimed at curbing food waste which will make it easier for supermarkets, wholesalers and farmers to pass unsold products on to charities.

The draft legislation, which is expected to be definitively approved soon after examination by the Senate, reforms complicated tax rules which previously acted as a barrier to food donations to groups working with the needy.

It also relaxes some food safety regulations to enable distribution of products in the window between their “sell by” and “use by” deadlines.

The move follows the adoption of similar measures in France in February. Italy throws away food worth an estimated 12 billion euros every year with just over half that total accounted for by private households.

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