A new bill introduced by Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), could have an impact on decreasing the nation’s food waste problem—diverting tons of food from landfill destinations and ensuring the food makes its way to food banks and shelters instead.
Representative Reed’s bill, The Fighting Hunger Incentives Act of 2015, would give tax incentives to supermarkets, restaurants, and even farms, for keeping expired or near-expired food products from being trashed and instead going to hungry families in need.
"Why don't we have a tax policy that recognizes and (provides incentives) to say, 'Why don't we donate that to our neighbors, to the food banks of America, so that they can use that food, rather than putting it in the ground in a landfill?' Use that food where it needs to be utilized best. And that's on the tables of hungry Americans across the country," Reed said in New York’s Star Gazette.
Under current policies, only certain farmers are eligible for tax rebates and incentives, but under the Fighting Hunger Incentives Act of 2015, farmers would be encouraged to donate more products including apples, potatoes, cabbage and other locally grown foods, according to Reed.
"We want to serve our people in this community our food — our inspected, carefully grown food, our safe food," he said. "Not imported food, our food. That's the important part of the whole thing. We want to make this thing a permanent bill so every year you don't have the confusion. Make it a bill that's going to last."
The Fighting Hunger Incentives Act of 2015 made its way out of the House Ways and Means Committee with a 24-14 vote in favor of the bill. Its next stop is the floor of the House some time in the next few weeks. A similar bill tackling food waste was proposed last year, but it lost by eight votes.
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