A party-list legislator on Wednesday reminded the public to be mindful of their food consumption and avoid waste over the holidays.
AAMBIS-OWA Rep. Sharon Garin, principal author of House Bill 7956, otherwise known as the Food Surplus Reduction Act, said with the COVID-19 pandemic still choking supply chains, the food and nutrition security of the country remained under threat. it was incumbent on every Filipino to ensure that no food went to waste.
Citing Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) data, Garin said food waste accounted for eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. On top of this, hunger and undernutrition continued to plague around 690 million people in the last five years.
As principal author of the measure, Garin highlighted the need to address the country’s lack of system when it came to addressing food waste. For instance, she said, food items continued to end up in dumpsites instead of being repurposed as livestock feed to 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 manage the redistribution and inspection of food still fit for human consumption. Local government units would also be required to sign deals with waste management and recycling enterprises to recycle inedible food waste into fertilizers or compost, livestock feed or sources of biofuels, and facilitate the distribution of fertilizers or compost to farms and community gardening associations.
To reinforce the importance of lessening food waste among the public and raise awareness on 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, in close coordination with other concerned agencies and LGUs, would be promoted.
The bill also prescribes a penalty of P500,000 on any individual, private or public entity, who makes edible food surplus unfit for human consumption.