Farm Bureau Working on Food Waste Policy
In the United States, 30 to 40 percent of the food supply is never eaten, wasting the resources used to produce it and creating environmental impacts. Food waste is the single most common material landfilled and incinerated in the U.S.
In Illinois, 20% of the 19 million tons of general waste that reaches landfills is comprised of food. Nationally, it’s estimated that food loss contributes $161 billion.
Forty percent of all food in the U.S. gets wasted. One in seven Americans are food insecure. In Illinois, more than one million people struggle with hunger and food insecurity. While rescuing and redistributing surplus food is not a cure for hunger, it is an important stopgap in meeting immediate anti-hunger efforts.
Generally, the policy supports:
- Implementing state-based liability protections for food donors and rescue organizations that expand and strengthen those provided by the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. Food rescue includes donation or recovery of surplus food for feeding hungry people.
- Expansion of tax deductions or credits, including the creation of a state tax credit, for food donors to offset the costs associated with food donation, even if the food is sold at a reduced cost.
- The USDA and the Food and Drug Administration clarifying food safety donation regulations, including pre-cooked food items.
- Updating USDA’s definition of compost so that a greater number of potential buyers, such as farms, golf courses or other operations near waterways, are encouraged to purchase compost. Compost refers to a mixture of various decaying organic waste substances, such as food scraps, dead leaves or manure, used as soil fertilizer.
- Streamlining and simplifying the permitting process for compost facilities, including those that accept landscape waste and food scraps. Food scraps include processed food scraps and pre-consumer food scraps, which includes waste generated during the manufacturing and production of food prior to the item being sold.
- A separate permitting pathway for anaerobic digestion of source-separated food waste that includes, when applicable, requirements similar to those imposed on composting source-separated food waste. Source-separated means organic material separated for processing and may encompass food scraps as well as yard waste.
Members interested in providing input are encouraged to contact Bona Heinsohn at 708-354-3276 or via email at [email protected].