Mandatory doggy bag in Italy, what it is, what it is for and what's new

In recent days, the doggy bag has come back into fashion, the container for leftover food with which customers take home the remainder of the lunch or dinner they have rightly paid for.
This is thanks to a bill presented on January 10th to the Chamber of Deputies by Forza Italia representatives Giandiego Gatta and Paolo Barelli.
A proposal that, if it were to become law, would force restaurateurs to provide themselves with doggy bags, strictly recyclable or reusable, to offer to customers for leftovers.
Anyone caught without or if the packaging is not correct will receive a fine of 125 euros.
A sanction that is more for educational purposes than vexatious.
The proposal was not welcomed with enthusiasm by the experts.
Equipping yourself with doggy bags in accordance with the law means higher costs and slower service due to the staff who will have to take care of bringing the bags to the table.
An alternative to keep costs down could be to make the customer pay a deposit for returning the containers once emptied and cleaned.
This solution must be clearly communicated to customers.
Or customers just need to bring their own container from home which has the right hygiene standards.
Customers, unlike restaurateurs, have no obligation.
While the last ones must have the doggy bag, the customer is not obliged to take the leftovers home.
There can be many reasons why a person does not finish eating their plate.
It may be due to satiety, and then the container may fit, but it may also be that the dish is not finished for reasons of taste.
In that case, forcing a person to take leftovers home wouldn't make sense.
The proposed law underlines that whoever takes the bag away is responsible for transporting it and preserving what it contains.
In this way, restaurateurs can rest assured if episodes of discomfort should occur because it could happen that the food is not stored properly, or it could be consumed after a long time.
While on the one hand the unions and associations appreciate the anti-waste proposal, on the other they underline that it is necessary to make those who go out to eat more responsible than the restaurateurs.
Already today it is difficult to find a place that does not give customers the opportunity to take leftovers home.
Forcing them to have a doggy bag in accordance with the law only means increasing management costs.
Instead, it would be important to raise awareness among customers, inviting them not to waste and letting them know about the possibility of taking home leftovers, simply asking them without being ashamed of being judged.
Doggy bag: where does the term come from? To trace the origins of the doggy bag we have to go to the United States during the Second World War when the habit of taking away what had not been eaten at the restaurant spread quite spontaneously and to all levels of society.
According to another version of events, the doggy bag originated in 1949 when Dan Sampler's Steak Joint restaurant in New York was the first to adopt leftovers packaging.
The restaurant had placed the image of a dog on the bag which encouraged the more timid customers to take away the leftover food on their plate so as not to waste it.
Here's what was written on the first doggy bags in history: Oh where, oh where have your leftovers gone? Oh where, oh where can they be? If you've had all you can possibly eat, Please bring the rest home to me! Which translated means: Oh where, oh where did your leftovers go? Where could they be? If you have eaten all you can and can't take it anymore, please bring me what you have left! Doggy bag: current use around the world In the United States, portions in restaurants are very large and it happens that you cannot finish dinner.
Why let so much goodness (among other things paid handsomely) be thrown in the garbage? Here, then, it is usual to ask to be able to take home the tray of leftovers.
Not necessarily for your dog, but especially for people.
If in the rest of the world asking for a doggy bag at a restaurant is a very normal thing and no one (neither waiters nor diners) accuses those who want to take leftovers home of being cheap or post-war nostalgia, in Italy people are shy about the possibility of doggy bags for fear of being judged.
And whoever finds the courage to have leftover food packaged will probably leave the place with a mixture of satisfaction and shame.
Rather than asking the waiter for the doggy bag, in fact, most Italians prefer to devour the dish down to the last bite even if full or, worse, leave the food and get up.
It's wrong and no longer sustainable, and in fact something – in the doggy bag direction – is moving here too.

Author: Hermes A.I.

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