China is planning to introduce measures to reduce food waste after President Xi Jinping called the amount binned “shocking and distressing”.

State-run news agency Xinhua reported Xi emphasised the need to “strengthen legislation” to “resolutely stop food waste”.

UK broadcaster the BBC said the strategy – dubbed via translation as “clean plate” – comes after Xi highlighted Covid-19 had “sounded the alarm” on food waste, insisting China had to “maintain a sense of crisis about food security”.

The BBC added the call also comes after weeks of mass flooding across southern China that left farms wrecked and tons of produce ruined.

Xinhua reported: “The relevant departments are implementing the spirit of Jinping’s important instructions, formulating and implementing more powerful measures, and pushing the whole society to advance the work of preventing food waste.”

As part of the war on food waste, restaurants are being urged to take measures to stop people from over-ordering. 

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The Wuhan Catering Industry Association has asked eateries in the city to limit the number of dishes served to diners – implementing a system where groups must order one dish less than the number of diners.

The UK’s The Guardian newspaper pointed out that, faced with trade tensions with the US and other countries, as well as the aforementioned floods, food security has become an increasingly important issue in China.