Israeli supermarket (illustration)
Israeli supermarket (illustration)Flash 90

In a world where millions go hungry each day, a shockingly large amount of food is lost - to spoilage, contamination, or “leftovers.” Some 20% of milk products worldwide, for example, are thrown away each day because they can no longer be safely used.

Leftover food makes up some 40% of the “trash” thrown away each day in Israel, Knesset members were told at a session on ways to help Israel's poor Wednesday.

The topic was discussed in the Knesset Oversight Committee, chaired by MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid), who called on Israel's supermarket chain to sell almost-past-due products to needy Israelis at discount prices, instead of destroying them.

Elharar called on the Welfare Ministry to work with organizations that help the needy to coordinate the transfer of food products from stores to the groups, for distribution to the poor.

A system should be put in place, she said, that will enable retailers to report on products they want picked up for distribution, with Ministry officials alerting help organizations in the area that food is available.

According to Gidi Karuch, head of the Leket Yisrael organization, one of Israel's largest organizations to help the needy, IDF bases were a good source of “extra” food.

He suggested setting up an inter-ministerial committee to oversee the “rescue” of food from government agencies, especially the IDF, which has a large food budget, and often a large food surplus.

“New laws may be needed to ensure that food can be 'recovered' from the IDF and government agencies, as well as to encourage the donation of food from supermarkets and other sources to organizations,” he added.