The new law also gives tax breaks for giving away food and also removes red tape that made businesses wary about violating health and safety laws by donating food marginally past its sell-by date, according to the Telegraph.
It also permits supermarkets to redistribute unsold food and food that has been incorrectly packaged, as long as the packaging mistakes do not misinform the consumer about substances that may cause allergies or intolerance.
€10m has been set aside to launch the initiative, including €1m annually to fund innovative food waste reduction projects (starting new programmes to reduce food waste in schools, hospitals and other public canteens), as well as €2m to buy food for those in need.
Approximately 100 tonnes of food is wasted each year across the EU. The Italian bill aims to cut up to 1m tonnes of wasted food every year.
The law raises the amount that can be donated from €5,000 to €15,000 and will finance research into new products such as recyclable packaging that prevents spoilage in transit.
For the ordinary consumer, it will make it easier to request to take home unfinished food ordered at restaurants, a practice that was previously rare in Italy.
Italy’s Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina said the legislation is “one of the most beautiful and concrete legacies of Milan’s 2015 Expo,” which had made curbing food waste and hunger worldwide one of its primary themes.
The law passed through Senate with 181 votes in favour, 16 abstentions and just two votes against.
Earlier this year, France became the first country to pass legislation to reduce supermarket waste and force large retailers to donate unsold food.