New Law Passed in France Receives Mixed Reactions

March 1, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. charity / ˈtʃær ɪ ti / (n.) – a group that helps the poor, ill, or needy
Example: I worked for a charity that helps the homeless.

2. reservations / rɛz ərˈveɪ ʃən / (n.) – doubt
Example: The candidate had no reservations in accepting the bill.

3. customary / ˈkʌs təˌmɛr I / (adj.) – usual or habitual
Example: It is customary to talk softly in restaurants.

4. stingy / ˈstɪn dʒi / (adj.) – does not want to give or spend money
Example: Because she is saving her money, she is stingy when she goes to the supermarket.

5. leniency / ˈli ni ən si / (n.) – the state of being accepting of someone or something
Example: She hoped for leniency in her son’s punishment because it was a first time offense.


Read the text below.
A new law passed in France that requires restaurants to provide containers for uneaten food received mixed reactions.

The bill is part of the French government's initiative to combat the problem of food waste in the country. Around 7.1 million tons of food are disposed every year in the country - 11 percent from shops, 15 percent from restaurants, and 67 percent from consumers. At the same time, 3.5 million French citizens survive on food handouts from charities. The people were made aware of the problem of food waste long before the law was passed in an effort to ease their reservations.

The French public's hesitation regarding the bill stems from their culture. It is customary for the French to eat or throw away their food, not pack up leftovers. There is not even a French equivalent for the term "doggy bag", or the term commonly used to refer to the container where leftovers are placed. Indeed, the action is looked down on as unclean, shameful, stingy, and ill-mannered. However, a recent poll indicated a change in the French people's attitude toward the issue from hostility to leniency. While 70 percent have yet to take leftovers home, 75 percent are tolerant to the idea of doggy bags.

Since its passing, the bill has faced two reactions. Proponents such as local councilor Arash Derambarsh are confident that it will be embraced, especially by the younger generation. Critics such as food writer Franck Pinay-Rabaroust belittle the bill and its chances of catching on.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How is the act of packing up leftover food viewed in your country?
·         What are some actions that can be done to avoid wasting food?

Discussion B

·         What are some important food customs in your country?
·         What are some important food customs in other countries that you know of?

March 1, 2016