Israel Just Passed a Bill to Greatly Increase Food Donations

The new law will limit liability and triple the amount of food donations

Oct 31, 2018

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Donating leftover food to people in need would seem like a no-brainer, but in many countries, food donors can be held legally responsible if somebody gets sick from the donated food. Wanting to avoid the risk, most big companies choose to throw unused food and produce out instead of donating it to those in need.

To make sure that leftover food will reach people who would otherwise go hungry, the Israeli government recently passed a new food donation law that absolves food donors from criminal and civil liability - if they adhere to food safety requirements.

It took 10 years of intensive lobbying from the Israeli food rescue organization Leket Israel to get the law proposed and passed, and the work paid off big time. The law was passed unanimously on October 23, 2018, and will greatly expand the number of donations from restaurants, hotels, and businesses.

According to Leket Israel, 35 percent (that’s 2.3 million tons) of the food produced in the country goes to waste and 17 percent of Israelis suffer from food insecurity.

In 2017, Leket Israel was able to collect 14,300 tons of fruit and vegetables from fields and packing houses, 500 tons of food from manufacturers, and 2,260,000 cooked meals from catering halls, hotels, and cafeterias. The food was distributed to over 200 charity organizations, including homeless shelters, soup kitchens, community centers, and more. The organization estimates that 175,000 Israelis from all cultural backgrounds were fed every week.

Now that the Food Donation Act has passed, the organization expects the amount of food donations to triple.

"The Food Donation Act opens the door to hundreds of organizations and business companies that are currently not taking part in food donations due to the uncertainty regarding protection against claims,” Gidi Kroch, Leket Israel CEO, said.

“According to estimates, the law will triple the scope of food donations and expand food rescue activities. This is a tremendous opportunity to address food insecurity and reduce social gaps in Israel.”

Israel joins a small but growing number of countries that exempt food donations from criminal liability. In the US, The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation law was passed in 1996. There are similar laws in Canada, New Zealand, and Italy.

With new initiatives to cut food waste in France and other EU countries, this list will hopefully get a lot of new additions soon.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.

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