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“All eyes are now on the European Commission”

New French decree on plastic packaging

The new decree framing the ban on the sale of fruit and vegetables packaged in plastic was published on June 20, 2023. As of July 1, this ban will be enforced, with an exception for 29 fruits and vegetables, as well as for ripe fruit.

This decree is in the application of the Agec law, which bans the retail sale of fresh fruit and vegetables in plastic packaging from January 1, 2022, except when packaged in batches of more than 1.5 kg. The law provides for exemptions for "fruit and vegetables presenting a risk of deterioration when sold in bulk" / © Chamussy/SIPA.

This new decree follows the Council of State's annulment on December 9, 2022, of a decree published in October 2021, which provided for a gradual reduction in the list of fruit and vegetables authorized for sale in plastic packaging, and granted an exemption from the rule until June 2026 for certain particularly fragile products.

The new text lists 29 fruits and vegetables exempt from the ban because they "present a risk of deterioration when sold in bulk," in addition to ripe fruit ("sold to the end consumer at full maturity") and sprouted seeds.

Endive, asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, early potatoes, early carrots, and baby carrots;
Lettuce, lamb's lettuce, young shoots, aromatic herbs, spinach, sorrel, edible flowers, mung bean sprouts;
Cherries, cranberries, lingonberries, and cape gooseberries;
Ripe fruit;
Sprouted seeds;
Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, redcurrants, elderberries, surettes and redcurrants, blackcurrants, and kiwis.

Packaging "composed entirely or partly of plastic" remains authorized until December 31, 2023, in order to allow packaging stocks to be used up.

The decree also specifies that "elastics necessary for grouping several small fruits or vegetables, such as those presented for sale with tops (radishes, carrots...) or aromatic herbs, remain authorized."

"This decree only clears the doubts raised by the Council of State's decision, but we hope that it will be consistent with the forthcoming decision of the European Commission, on which all eyes are now focused," explains a packaging manufacturer. This decision is expected around mid-December of this year. "It would be good to have uniform regulations for the European system, and at the same time, we can legitimately assume that the future European text will be equivalent to the one in France."