The Global FoodBanking Network and the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic identify policy recommendations designed to decrease food waste, support food donation, and combat climate change in Australia.A new analysis of food donation laws and policies in Australia was released today by the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) and The Global FoodBanking Network, with recommendations to help reduce food waste, feed people experiencing hunger, and combat climate change. The research and recommendations were released in partnership with Foodbank Australia as part of The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas, which maps the laws and policies affecting food donation around the world. In Australia, 7.6 million tons of food are wasted annually, costing AUD$36.6 billion, while approximately 3.24 million Australians, or 13.6% of the population, live below the poverty line. Between 625,000 and 1 million Australians receive food assistance each month, a quarter of whom are children. Food insecurity rates are particularly high for the indigenous population–22% to 32% depending on location. Food donation offers an important solution to reduce the amount of safe, edible food that ends up in landfill and divert it to people who need it most. “We can feed people experiencing hunger. We produce more food than we need, yet much of it ends up in a landfill, where it instead contributes to global methane emissions,” said Emily Broad Leib, clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School and faculty director of the FLPC. “Australia has already made a national commitment to reduce food waste and increase food recovery. National leaders across the globe, including in Australia, can build a bridge between surplus food and people who are hungry by encouraging food donation. Our hope is that leaders in Australia and beyond will take action on food waste, climate change, and hunger by implementing our recommendations.” The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas, supported by Walmart Foundation, identifies the existing laws and policies that support or hinder food recovery and donation, featured in a comprehensive Legal Guide and Policy Recommendations for strengthening frameworks and adopting new measures to fill existing gaps. The analysis featured in these country-specific reports are also encapsulated in an interactive atlas tool that allows users to compare policies between countries participating in the project. The research focuses on six legal issues that influence food donation: food safety for donations, date labeling, liability protection for food donations, tax incentives and barriers, government grants and funding, and food waste penalties or donation requirements. For each country, FLPC developed recommended actions, including the following for Australia:
- Food Safety Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) should amend the Food Standards Code (FSC) to explicitly state which food safety provisions apply to food donation.
- The Australian government and its relevant departments and agencies should promote consumer education and awareness on the meaning of date labels in partnership with the private sector.
- The Australian government should enact national legislation that establishes clear and comprehensive liability protection for food donors and food recovery organizations.
- The Australian government should amend the Income Tax Assessment Act of 1997 to cover costs incurred in the transport, storage, and refrigeration of donated food.
###The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic Since 2010, the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) has served partner organizations and communities by providing guidance on cutting-edge food system issues while engaging and educating law students in the practice of food law and policy. FLPC is committed to advancing a cross-sector, multidisciplinary, and inclusive approach to its work, building partnerships with academic institutions, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, private-sector actors, and civil society with expertise in public health, the environment, and the economy. FLPC’s work focuses on increasing access to healthy foods, supporting sustainable production and regional food systems, promoting community-led food system change, and reducing waste of healthy, wholesome food. The Global FoodBanking Network The Global FoodBanking Network supports community-driven solutions to alleviate hunger in more than 40 countries. While millions struggle to access enough safe and nutritious food, nearly a third of all food produced is lost or wasted. We’re changing that. We believe food banks directed by local leaders are key to achieving Zero Hunger and building resilient food systems. For more information, visit foodbanking.org.