France Could Suffer ‘Significant’ Food Spoilage Due to Power Cuts

Milk bottles and out of stock products are seen in a supermarket in Bordeaux, southwestern France, on December 2, 2022. (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP) (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

A federation of French supermarket chains has warned of significant waste of fresh products in the event of possible power cuts in the country this winter, with those in rural areas much more likely to face outages.

Franck Charton, general delegate of Perifem, a French federation of supermarket chains, explained that companies are already preparing for power outages over the winter months and while they should be notified the day prior to any planned outages at 9:30 p.m., Charton said the time is too short for them to react.

According to Charton, shops will be forced to have “preventative closures” that could lead to a significant level of waste of fresh products, broadcaster France Info reports.

“We have never experienced this situation… stores are very poorly equipped today with generators. We will not throw away frozen products that have for the most part more thermal inertia. On the other hand, for fresh products that do not last two hours, there will indeed be a significant waste,” Charton said.

French residents living in rural areas of the country are much more likely to face power outages, according to the office of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, claiming that 40 per cent of French would not be affected by power cuts if they lived in urban areas close to priority sites like hospitals, police stations, and fire stations.

“Any scheduled outages should not affect more than four million customers simultaneously, for a period of two hours, excluding critical sites (hospitals, points of vital importance, etc.). that you have protected by prefectural order,” the Prime Minister’s office stated in a letter to prefects across the country.

Last month,  Xavier Piechaczyk, the president of the Reseau Transport d’Electricite (RTE), admitted that power cuts were likely during the winter months despite efforts to reduce overall consumption, even if the winter is not especially cold.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)



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