Italian law promotes doggy bags to cut down on food waste

Italian lawmakers have passed legislation to cut down on food waste, making it easier to donate food directly to the needy and promoting containers for restaurants to help Italians overcome their aversion to doggy bags.

Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina said the law passed this week was a legacy of the Expo 2015 world's fair focusing on food security, during which dignitaries including Pope Francis decried the paradox of hunger amid abundance.

The government estimates that food waste costs the economy 12.5 billion euros ($14 billion) a year. The Coldiretti food lobby says consumers are responsible for half of the waste, restaurants for 20 percent and distribution channels for another 15 percent, with each Italian tossing out 76 kilograms (176 pounds) of food a year.