China is cracking down on binge eating and food waste

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In its latest campaign to rein in excesses across all aspects of society, China is targeting overindulgence of food. 

Beijing released an action plan on Monday that tells diners not to order more than they need and encourages consumers to report restaurants for wasting food. It also advocates buffets for official receptions rather than banquets, while banning companies from hosting lavish feasts "in the name of meetings and trainings".

The plan through 2025 follows calls by President Xi Jinping to reduce food waste and bolster food security. By tackling discarded leftovers, China could also reduce its dependence on imports and its vulnerability to disruptions. The effort comes as Chinese purchases of farm products from corn to wheat to beef have continued to grow year-on-year to record levels. 

China is also facing soaring prices of some food items, such as vegetables, which threatens to become a broader inflation problem. The rally has caught the attention of regulators, with the agriculture ministry pledging last month to crack down on vegetable hoarding and to ensure stable supply. Egg and pork prices have risen as well. 

Under the plan, catering services have to remind customers to order the right amount of food and to provide the option of smaller servings. Households are urged to purchase food on demand and to make "full use" of ingredients. 

Other details: 

  • Improve drying conditions and capacity for grain production, and to manage the electricity supply needed for that
  • Support and guide farmers on proper grain storage; strengthen infrastructure to reduce grain loss during transportation
  • Promote replacement and substitution of corn and soybean meal in pig and chicken feed; make use of alternative resources such as other crops or by-products of grain processing
  • Regulate development of biofuel industry that uses food as raw materials.
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