Obstacles and Policies to Encourage Food Rescue
A special report of the State Comptroller in 2015 determined that the State of Israel needs to establish an overall policy regarding food rescue.
Internationally, the issue is on the agenda, and many countries have instituted substantive measures to reduce food waste at all points along the supply chain, and by consumers at the final stage of the supply chain. The steps taken in Israel to date have proven inadequate. A comprehensive, budgeted inter-ministerial effort is necessary to create real change in the field.
The 2018 National Food Waste and Rescue Report, similar to its predecessors, demonstrates the significant benefit of food rescue, from economic, social and environmental perspectives.
Economic: This is a clear instance of market failure. At market prices, it is not worthwhile to rescue food. However, when the economic price reflects the alternative value and nutritional benefits, food rescue is very worthwhile.
Social: Rescued food that is donated to populations experiencing food insecurity reduces inequality and increases the food security of Israeli citizens.
Environmental: This effort will save significant energy, water, land and chemical resources, as well as reducing GHG emissions.
1 The Food Donation Act was enacted into law
The purpose of the law is to encourage the rescue of surplus food and to protect the entire chain of food donors against legal liability from harm that may be caused by the food they donated, provided that they comply with the provisions of the law.
2 Develop a National Plan for Food Rescue
The plan should relate to all necessary operational, budgetary, and regulatory conditions and incentives to gradually attain the national food rescue goal. The plan should create a system of incentives and mechanisms to encourage food donations and the establishment of a national food rescue program. Additionally, it will include a governmental information system to encourage consumption reduction and prevent loss in the household consumption sector.
3 Set a National Food Rescue Goal
Aiming to reduce food waste by 50% by the year 2030, as specified by the UN. Setting a national goal will place the issue on the national agenda and more importantly will create governmental commitment to act towards the realization of this objective. In addition to setting a goal, it is necessary to establish measurement and monitoring tools to facilitate ongoing review of compliance with the goal.
4 Require Food Rescue of all Governmental & Government-Financed Institutions
It is necessary to expand the process which will be executed by the Government Companies Authority. Requiring state-funded bodies with kitchens catering to 1,000 or more patrons daily (directly or through a subcontractor) to contract with approved food rescue NPOs as a condition for government support (including defense agencies, school catering programs, government companies, etc.).
5 Reevaluating Expiration Dates
Examining the need to update standards in determining the expiration dates of various food products, all while ensuring public health standards, and preventing food waste. This also includes an examination of the manner in which expiration dates are presented to the public.
6 Require Food Rescue as a Condition for Private Businesses to Participate in Government Tenders
Requiring private organizations that participate in government tenders supplying services to the State (not necessarily food-related), who have sources of rescuable food, to collaborate with registered food rescue NPOs as a threshold condition for contracting with the State. This would oblige businesses that provide services to the State–meaning they are indirectly funded by taxpayers–to return otherwise wasted food to the public that funded it. This legislation is similar to the section on food-related tenders in the US Federal Food Donation Act of 2008.