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We are INCREDIBLY excited to share with you that the Food Donation Improvement Act passed both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and is now heading to President Biden’s desk for final approval! It is a major bipartisan accomplishment.
And the FDIA is truly a win for the food movement. It’s such an important step toward ending both hunger and food waste!
Food Tank has been working with amazing partners to highlight the issue of food loss and food waste for a long time. It needs to be one of our top priorities because it’s impactful and so easily fixable. Hunger is shamefully high in the United States, and so is food waste. We’re wasting millions of tons of perfectly good food, while those in need go without. Congress passed a law protecting food donations back in the 1990s, but it hasn’t been updated since then—until now.
The FDIA strengthens existing protections to better support businesses, manufacturers, retailers, farmers, and restaurants to donate their excess food. The legislation was supported by a coalition including the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, WeightWatchers International, the Food Recovery Network, Bread For The World, NRDC, the Healthy Living Coalition, and many organizations and individuals.
And, importantly, I want to thank YOU. So many of you sent letters, attended our programming on Capitol Hill, joined our virtual discussions with policymakers, called your representatives, and more. This is proof that all this work really does make a difference.
Niyeti Shah of WeightWatchers International told Food Tank the passage is “a monumental win for food policy.”
“We proved that Congress, companies, nonprofits, and citizens are ready for food to take center stage,” Shah said. “Thanks to the 73 companies, 58 bi-partisan Representatives, and 60,000+ citizens who made this happen—we know this is just the beginning.”
Anti-hunger superhero and U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern spoke just before the bill passed the House of Representatives, urging his colleagues to support the legislation. He posted his full remarks HERE.
“Hunger is not inevitable,” he said. “We don’t have a shortage of food; we have a mismatch between abundance and need—a mismatch we can solve by passing this common sense, bipartisan bill.”
The legislation is supported in the Senate by Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), and others. And in the House of Representatives by Congress members including Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Dan Newhouse (R-Wa.), and the late Jackie Walorski, who tragically passed away this summer. I talked with some of these policymakers and other advocates at an event a few months ago, which you can revisit HERE.
Again, the bill was passed with bipartisan support, an important reminder that our food and agriculture systems can bring both sides of the aisle together. Advocacy for policy change is key to transforming the food system, and this type of legislation can help solve hunger, support farmers, and protect workers and the planet. Simply put, these are moral and ethical choices we need to make regardless of political affiliation.
The incredible support for this bill also underscores that the food movement has significant momentum right now. Food advocates need to rise to the occasion: Celebrate our victories and stay committed to the hard and necessary work of systemic transformation in food and agriculture.
Advocacy for the Food Donation Improvement Act could not have happened without YOU. Support from our global community of readers, listeners—and members—drives our work. If you want to join our efforts to bring tangible change to food systems around the globe, please consider becoming a member HERE.
Articles like the one you just read are made possible through the generosity of Food Tank members. Can we please count on you to be part of our growing movement? Become a member today by clicking here.
Photo courtesy of Melanie Lim, Unsplash