Bill to save food approved

Knesset approves law lessening penalties to encourage restaurants to donate excess food to the poor rather than throw it out.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Food waste
Food waste

On Monday, the Knesset plenum approved a bill to encourage food donations to prevent food waste which was introduced by MKs Uri Maklev and Hilik Bar.

The law states that those who donate food to food distribution organizations that carry or distribute food donations shall not bear civil or criminal liability for damage caused by the food donation if they acted in accordance with the provisions of any law applicable to them and not negligent.

The law further stipulates that the Minister of Health will award annual awards to businesses that donate food to food distribution organizations according to criteria that will be determined.

The explanation for the proposal states: "About 25 percent of the food prepared in restaurants, banquet halls, dining rooms, military bases, retail chains and hotels is thrown out. The main reason these institutions are not willing to donate food instead of throwing it away is the fear of exposure to [criminal penalties]."

"According to the Defective Products Liability Law, 5740-1980, the manufacturer is responsible for compensation for bodily harm caused by a defect in the product, including food. Also, the burden of proof falls on the manufacturer to prove that the defect was created after the product was taken out of his control. This is a heavy burden, which leads to the owners of these institutions prefer not to risk the contribution of surplus food," the explanation for the law read.

MK Eli Elalouf, chairman of the Labor and Social Affairs Committee, explained that "this law is not only for the poor, but also for the population that is unable to meet its needs, and the government system is not succeeding in reaching them. I must say that it is a pity that this move will replace the [role of the] government, which must provide food to our children in institutions and frameworks."

MK Uri Maklev said in a plenum discussion that "this law will revolutionize the issue of destroying food from hotels, restaurants, banquet halls, catering services and the like, food that will now reach thousands of needy every day. This is not a waste but a food that has not passed through the kitchen door and is still in the trays. These are huge amounts. We want the place where the food is thrown in the garbage to reach the needy. The destruction of food causes economic and social damage that ultimately corrupts the soul."

MK Halik Bar added that "this important social law is a real revolution. After years of work, the law finally regulates the field of saving and donating food in Israel, and removes the cloud of claim hovering above the food donors. Every year, about 1.2 million tons of food are thrown at a value of NIS 8 billion. Do you know how many dinners, how many families and how many children can be fed at even half that amount? This bill also saves food, prevents food waste and also transfers it to those who can not afford it."