A new report released last Thursday by the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council outlines recommendations for updating federal food donation policies in hopes of both reducing food waste and bringing food to those in need.
The report, entitled “Don’t Waste, Donate: Enhancing Food Donations Through Federal Policy” is the first of its kind, outlining clear actions that the federal government can take to combat these two related issues.
“Good food shouldn’t go to waste when so many people in this country are in need,” said JoAnne Berkenkamp, Senior Advocate in the Food and Agriculture program at NRDC, in a press release. “Updating federal food donation policies will help more organizations donate wholesome, healthy and safe food rather than tossing it, providing a much-needed safety net in our communities.”
The report offers 16 actionable recommendations that could help the federal government meet its goal of a 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2030. These include recommendations enhancing liability protections and federal tax incentives for food donations, standardizing expiration date labels, and modernizing food safety guidelines.
“If even a quarter of the recommendations in the report are embraced and implemented, millions of pounds of wholesome food will make it to those in need instead of clogging up our landfills,” said Emily Broad Leib, Director of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic. “Don’t Waste, Donate isn’t meant to sit on a bookshelf, or online, and gather dust. It’s a guide to adopting real change that can have a meaningful effect for millions of Americans. We want to see a real response from leadership to the recommendations we are placing before them.”
Today, approximately 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted, resulting in about 62.5 million tons of wasted food every year. Only about ten percent of food is recovered each year in the United States. Meanwhile, more than 42 million Americans lack regular access to sufficient food.
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