House OKs excess food donation measure to curb wastage
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday unanimously approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to require the donation of edible surplus food for charitable purposes as well as the creation and regulation of food banks.
The chamber gave its nod to House Bill No. 8873 or the “Food Waste Reduction Act” with 183 votes in the affirmative.
The proposed law requires food manufacturers, food establishments, supermarkets with at least 500 meters of selling space, and culinary schools with at least 50 students to segregate edible from inedible food surplus, have the edible food be certified by an accredited health inspector and donate such to accredited food banks, as determined by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The food banks, in coordination with the DSWD and local government units, would then distribute the edible food to recipients to be identified by the DWSD.
HB 8873 also mandates the implementation of a National Food Surplus Campaign to raise awareness on the impact of food surplus and strategies to decrease wasted food starting at the house level.
The bill also imposes penalties ranging from P1 million to P5 million on those who would sell food donations and would cause an edible food surplus to be unfit for human consumption.
One of the principal authors of the bill, Deputy Speaker Sharon Garin of AAMBIS-OWA party-list, earlier reiterated her call to reduce the country’s food waste through donations and waste recycling.
“There is a need to address our country’s lack of system when it comes to addressing food waste. For instance, food items continue to end up in dumpsites instead of being repurposed as livestock feed which can help our farmers,” Garin said in a statement.
She further underscored that according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, a Filipino household wastes 1.676 kilograms of rice annually.
This amount of food waste, she said, represents a total of 38.507 million kilograms, valued at P1.617 billion.
“We should start to treat food waste reduction as a critical goal for 2019,” the lawmaker added. / gsg
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