New legislation would minimize liability in food donations

​A bill with the same purpose was submitted to the Knesset three years ago, but was stalled in the Ministry of Justice.

By NAOMI GRANT
June 27, 2018 09:22
1 minute read.
Leket Israel volunteers gather food.

Leket Israel volunteers gather food.. (photo credit: COURTESY LEKET ISRAEL)

Proposed legislation that would salvage some of Israel’s food waste received approval by the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee on a first reading Tuesday.

The proposal aims to promote food donation while protecting donors from civil and criminal liability. It echoes the United States Emerson Food Donation Act and 1996 Good Samaritan Law, which minimizes donor liability to cases of gross negligence.

​A bill with the same purpose was submitted to the Knesset three years ago, but was stalled in the Justice Ministry. People often refrain from making food donations due to fear of prosecution, according to Leket Israel, a food recovery organization.

The legislation would absolve donors from liability if the donations are made in good faith and meet certain food requirements.

 Leket Israel’s “Report on Food Waste and Rescue in Israel,” found that 2.3 million tons of food worth NIS 19.5 billion ($5.2b.) are wasted every year, of which 1.1 million tons worth NIS 7b. ($1.9b.) are salvageable.

“One of the basic principles of Jewish tradition is the principle of ‘ba’al tashchit – don’t waste,’” MK Orly Levy-Abecassis said in a statement. “There is no reason to destroy good quality food when there are hungry families in Israel.”

MK Hilik Bar called the legislation “a critical step” and said, “The proposed legislation corrects an injustice caused by a lack of thought in bureaucracy in Israel. With this law, we reduce the bureaucratic barrier and strengthen the social justice of the State of Israel. This legislation minimizes social gaps and brings food to those hungry for bread.”

This legislation was proposed in cooperation with Leket Israel, a non-profit that rescues fresh, perishable food from hotels, farms, corporate cafeterias and military bases that would otherwise be wasted, using it to provide relief to people below the poverty line.

“The national need for legislation is critical, especially in light of the harsh statistics that 18.7% of Israel’s population is living in food insecurity,” Leket Israel CEO Gidi Kroch said. “Today at the Knesset, we saw an important step forward in this legislation becoming a reality.”


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