According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, food is the largest single source of waste in California, making up 15.5 percent of the state’s waste stream. An examination has found shortcomings in the state’s food distribution chain that allow vast amounts of food to go to waste in landfills, despite laws and tax incentives that encourage food donations.It is said a certain amount of waste is inevitable in all forms of business, it is built into the economics, but the commodity of food takes on added significance. Officials, researchers, farmers, and corporate leaders agree that more efficient production and distribution of our food could help feed millions of people.
Many of the nation’s major grocery chains are not cold blooded in not wanting to help less fortunate, but are reluctant to donate much of the food leftover due to liability concerns. Similarly restaurants restrain from donation, especially smaller franchises, for lack of additional tax deduction for food donation. Laws both state and federal have long been in affect to protect businesses and others from criminal and civil liability should donated food cause illness. The 1996 federal law protects such donations made in good faith unless company intentionally tried to cause harm with donation.
Similarly, majority of restaurants throughout the state also refrain from making donations or participating in programs such as Food Donation Connection. A major reason for this is many smaller franchises are not eligible for additional tax deduction on donated food. Only major corporations and franchise have access to the deduction, however Food Donation Connection and Feeding America are working with Congress to resurrect the tax deduction and make it permanent for all businesses and thus help with the waste problem.
Title: Food Waste Remains Persistent Problem at Farms, Grocery Stores and Restaurants
Source: California Watch
Author: Tina Mather, Kimberly Daniels, and Shannon Pence
Student Researcher: Elizabeth Fernwood
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman, College of Marin