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House passes bill against food waste

FILIPINOS were reminded to avoid food waste and surplus this holiday season following the passage of a bill that will penalize any individual or business establishments found discarding too much food.

House Bill 7956 or the Food Surplus Reduction Act was approved on third and final reading.

One of the authors, AAMBIS-OWA Party-list Rep. Sharon Garin said this bill is giving everyone a gentle nudge to be mindful of food consumption and avoid waste over the holidays.

Garin noted that with the COVID-19 pandemic still choking supply chains, the food and nutrition security of the country remains to be under threat.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon every Filipino to ensure that no food goes to waste.

According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), food waste accounts for eight percent (8%) of global greenhouse gas emissions. On top of this, hunger and undernutrition has continued to plague around 690 million people in the last five years.

Garin highlighted the need to address the country’s lack of system when it comes to addressing food waste. For instance, food items continue to end up in dumpsites instead of being repurposed as livestock feed which can help Filipino farmers.

The bill prescribes specific steps on edible food surplus distribution, as well as the formulation of a food-related business surplus reduction strategy to properly manage the redistribution and inspection of food still fit for human consumption.

Local government units (LGUs) shall also be required to enter into contract with waste management and recycling enterprises to recycle inedible food waste into fertilizer or compost, livestock feed, or sources of biofuel and facilitate the distribution of fertilizer or compost to farms and community gardening associations.

To reinforce the importance of lessening food waste among the Filipino public and raise awareness of the impact of a food surplus and strategies to decrease wasted food starting at the household level, a National Zero-Food Waste Campaign to be spearheaded by the National Nutrition Council (NCC), in close coordination with other concerned agencies and LGUs, shall be promoted.

The bill also prescribes a penalty amounting to P500,000to be imposed upon any individual, private or public entity, who makes edible food surplus unfit for human consumption.

With the bill finally hurdling the House of Representatives, Garin welcomes the progress of the measure she has been pushing since the 17th Congress.

House Bill 7956 is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aims to eliminate hunger and foster responsible consumption and production.

Publication Source :    People's Journal