Ordering excess food in China is now illegal and could lead to a hefty fine

In a move that comes as a result of China’s impending food crisis, it’ll now be illegal to order excess food or share binge-eating videos online. It’s common practice in China to order more food than necessary at business or family gatherings as it’s seen as a sign of wealth and hospitality.

Even restaurants have attractive offers that lure customers into ordering more than they can eat. Last year, China’s President Xi Jinping had called food waste as a ‘distressing’ problem. He expressed concern about the country’s food security especially in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. A campaign called ‘Operation Empty Plate’ was also launched that urged restaurants to offer smaller portions and leftover packages.


Now though, restaurants can be fined as much as $1,550 (or 10,000 Chinese yuan) for encouraging larger orders with misleading discounts. Along with the ban on ordering surplus food, China has also banned people from sharing binge-eating videos on Douyin (their version of TikTok). Media organizations who break this rule could be fined up to $15,500 (or 1,00,000 Chinese yuan).


According to Yangtse Evening News, the first warning under the new law was given to a bakery in Nanjing. The shop was found to be throwing away pastries which did not look nice or went unsold. After the warning, the restaurant owner promised to either donate the leftovers or give them away as free samples. Nearly 35 million tonnes of food goes to waste in China every year and any attempt to reduce that number is definitely a step towards better food security. A law like this had to be imposed even though some may see it as an infringement on personal freedom.


At Urruda, we believe that this law should make its way to other countries too. Not only will it help solve the hunger problem to some extent, it will also help reduce the impact food waste has on the environment.