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Swiss Hotel Shames Diners for Wasting Food

The signs appeared to target Chinese guests.

Hotel Monopol/Facebook

A Swiss hotel is under fire for using images of starving African children at its buffet to shame people into taking less food. According to the Shanghaiist, the four-star Hotel Monopol in Luzern, Switzerland, was upset that guests were leaving plates of uneaten food behind. The head of the hotel, Brigitte Heller, is quoted as telling local media last month that "Chinese guests accumulated mountains of food on their plates but ended up leaving half of it behind when help themselves to the buffet."

The hotel decided to put up signs on the tables reading: "For ethical and moral reason, in Switzerland we do not throw away any food. Please put on your plate only what you do eat. Thank you for your understanding." The Daily Mail notes that the signs also featured images of starving children and that they were written in both English and Chinese. Nearly 35 percent of the guests at the hotel are from Asian countries and many — alongside the Chinese media — were offended.

Heller defended the signs claiming that they "were only meant to remind guests not to waste food and were not specifically aimed at Chinese diners." She tells the Shanghaiist that food waste has been reduced since the signs were put up.

Swiss restaurants are apparently serious about food waste from their buffets. Last year, a restaurant in Losone started charging diners $6 for not finishing their plates. The policy is legal in Switzerland, and customers are forewarned on the restaurant's menus.