There are many complicated issues around the food business and a tangled web of responsibility around the waste involved.

Who is responsible for the staggering amount of surplus food generated by the supermarkets - hundreds of thousands of tonnes a year according to estimates by the charity FareShare?

Is it the suppliers, so fearful of losing contracts from the big supermarkets that they often send much more than has been ordered to ensure buyers are satisfied? Is it the supermarkets, which will routinely reject goods if the labels are slightly wrong or they bear the wrong seasonal packaging? Whose just-in-time business model means warehouses must ruthlessly dispose of stock which might not be immediately required?

Or is it the consumers, who demand shelves are kept stocked at all times and expect only blemish-free fruit and vegetables, who buy more food than they can cook and throw away too much of it, too soon?

The work of charity FareShare is remarkable, with wins at every stage. Food which would be dumped in landfill or - marginally more desirably - recycled for energy through anaerobic digestion, is instead donated and sold on for nominal fees to groups working with the vulnerable across the west of Scotland. The warehouse functions as an employability scheme for marginalised young people who gain crucial work experience.

But surplus food is currently only recycled if supermarkets choose to donate it to boost their corporate social responsibility credentials.

It is different in France, where incentives favour reuse of surplus food by charities - in Britain recycling for animal feed or in anaerobic digestion is incentivised.

Now France has passed laws obliging its supermarkets to do better, or face fines and other sanctions.

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan wants his party to do more at the Scottish Parliament to prevent the shocking waste of food that we currently tolerate.

Some warn against following France's lead in Scotland. The fear is that it might reinforce the foodbank culture, and mask the underlying reasons for food poverty.

The Scottish Retail Consortium says food retailers are already supporting reuse on a voluntary basis. But this is disingenuous when less than five per cent - a generous estimate, that - is currently reused.

The Scottish Government argues more waste is generated during production and in the home. This may be true. Waste should be cut in production too, and consumers can contribute by being more willing to accept knobbly or blemished produce.

Consumers can also be blamed for throwing away too much food in the home - but supermarkets contribute to this with three for two offers and other incentives to buy more than we need.

It should not be an excuse that consumer behaviour drives the industry's excesses. Consumer behaviour can be changed as initiatives like charging for plastic bags have shown.

But it is faulty logic to argue, though, that because other issues remain to be addressed we should not tackle the one in front of us. Many will find the waste of perfectly high quality food on the present scale simply immoral.

Mr McMillan would like to see Scottish retailers required to do more, as they are in France. The Scottish Government should give his proposal serious consideration.