In a desperate effort to combat food injustice, FoodForward SA has launched a petition to end hunger through the introduction of a food-donation policy. The food redistribution organisation says South Africa is “one of few countries” that does not have a policy in place to govern safe food donations.
FoodForward SA’s call follows a recent Consumer Goods Council of South Africa survey in which 76% of respondents said they would donate food if the government provided official guidance on food safety laws related to food donations.
The draft food-donation policy recommends that surplus food be recovered and repurposed to address widespread food insecurity in the country. Through a network of 2 750 beneficiary organisations, FoodForward SA says it already provides surplus food to more than 950 000 vulnerable people in disadvantaged communities.
The non-profit’s managing director, Andy du Plessis, says there is a perception that surplus food is expired or inedible food. However, this is not true. Surplus food is generated due to various supply chain factors such as overproduction, over-ordering, and out-of-specification food items.
Though it may not be good enough to sell, it is still good enough to eat – food that could be redirected or repurposed for those in need.
“A food-donations policy will allow us to recover more quality, within-date surplus food from farmers, post-harvest handlers, manufacturers, and retailers. Once we have collected this surplus, we can redistribute the food to improve food security at household level and, hopefully, end malnutrition.”
Proposed policy changes
FoodForward SA’s food petition calls for the amendment of the Food Act to include policies regarding food safety for food donations. It also calls for the amendment of the date-labelling regulations of foods.
Furthermore, a policy framework should be created for liability protection for food donors and food-redistribution organisations. Tax incentives should also be provided for food donors and government grants to food-redistribution organisations addressing food insecurity at scale.
With the introduction of a clear food donations policy, FoodForward SA believes more supply chain representatives will be encouraged to donate their surplus food, instead of dumping or incinerating this good food.
“I would like to encourage every South African to sign our petition. We cannot end hunger alone. Solving our food security crisis is in everyone’s interest. It’s time for us all to join forces and end hunger once and for all,” concludes Du Plessis.
Sign up for Mzansi Today: Your daily take on the news and happenings from the agriculture value chain.