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New Research Aims to Combat Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change in Colombia and Peru

New research focuses on the legal landscape in Colombia and Peru and provides tailored policy recommendations for strengthening food donation operations during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic in response to food waste, hunger and climate change. The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas, produced by the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) and The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) with support from the Walmart Foundation, offers a global examination of laws and policies affecting food donation. The findings on Colombia and Peru build upon earlier research on Argentina, Canada, India, Mexico and the United States.

Food banks worldwide depend largely on product donations to provide food to those facing hunger. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many food banks are seeing increases in demand for service. Despite a chronic and growing need for food donations, alarming amounts of safe, edible food are lost or wasted in countries around the world. “It’s more important than ever for policymakers, government agencies, food donors, companies, food banks and the public to understand the impact of unnecessary food waste in their countries and the need to change it,” said Emily Broad Leib, faculty director at FLPC and clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School. “The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas is the first research study to compare food donation policies and best practices across the world, providing the global perspective countries need to address this complex issue.”

The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas identifies the existing laws and policies that currently support 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 intended to help bolster the efforts that are already underway to promote food donation. They were developed through a combination of desk research and in-country dialogues with stakeholders, including those leading food bank operations in the country.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike any situation we have ever experienced before. Food bank organizations in our network are struggling to meet demand and get food to those who need it most,” said Lisa Moon, president and CEO of GFN. “This project is extremely timely as it provides a roadmap for organizations and shines a light on global food system challenges for policymakers.”

“Walmart Foundation has a long-standing commitment to increasing access to healthier foods in communities around the world and we are pleased to support the Global Food Donation Policy Atlas because of its potential to accelerate effective and sustainable solutions,” said Eileen Hyde, director of Sustainable Food Systems and Food Access for Walmart.org. “This project provides not only groundbreaking research to address the complexity of public policy relating to food donations but it also presents clear opportunities to improve how surplus food gets to communities that need it.”

Legal guides, policy recommendations, and executive summaries are available in English and Spanish for Colombia and Peru. FLPC will release additional reports for Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, France, Guatemala, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Kingdom later this winter. All resources, including research published for Argentina, Canada, India, Mexico and the United States, as well as an interactive map to compare food donation laws and policies across countries, are accessible at atlas.foodbanking.org/.


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