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Restaurants in France Are Now Legally Required to Provide Doggy Bags

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The French are less than enthusiastic about leftovers.

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A new era of dining in France is being ushered in: the age of the doggy bag. As of January 1, the nation's restaurants are now obligated to provide take-away boxes for customers who request them, reports France 24.

The new policy only affects "restaurants serving more than 180 meals a day," reports The Telegraph, meaning the tiniest sidewalk cafes will be exempt from wrapping customers' steak frites up in foil swans. But while the doggy bag is de rigueur in America, diners in France are considerably less enthusiastic about toting leftovers home with them: "A regional government survey conducted in 2014 found that while 75 percent of French people are open to the idea of doggy bags, 70 percent have never taken leftovers home with them." A government report on food waste found that "the obstacle is mostly cultural," noting that "The majority of diners don’t dare to ask for the leftovers of their meal, while the restaurateurs see it as a ‘degradation’ of their dishes."

Perhaps the first step is coming up with a less low-brow term for the leftovers: The nation's hotel and restaurant industry union is trying to popularize the usage of the term "le gourmet bag," rather than the admittedly not-so-enticing "le doggy bag."

The doggy bag law is just one part of France's larger effort to cut down on food waste; last year, the country made it illegal for grocery stores to throw away edible food, instead requiring them to donate it to charity or turn it into compost or animal feed.