Melissa Ellin reports for the Boston Globe that the city could become the first to require food vendors like grocery stores, restaurants, and others to donate any “safe-to-eat” leftovers to charity. Anyone who has watched a relative head to the emergency room with food poisoning after a picnic where the egg salad was out too long can see the problem here. Food that may seem “safe-to-eat” can often cause issues. The first bad meal that hits the charity shelves will generate a host of pro-bono class action lawsuits by homeless Bostonians against any grocery store or restaurant that attempted to comply with the new policy. Ellin explains the proposal:
Boston could be the first municipality to institute a food recovery program, said Councilors Gabriela Coletta and Ricardo Arroyo, who filed an ordinance Monday proposing the plan.
If approved, the program would require certain food vendors — grocery stores, restaurants, and food-producing hotels — to give any safe-to-eat leftovers to local non-profits for human consumption. The ordinance would also formally establish the city’s first ever Office of Food Justice.
A hearing for the ordinance will take place during the regularly scheduled City Council meeting Wednesday.
Coletta said this is an important step for the city because so many people lack access to food, and this program would “put foods in the hands of our most vulnerable at the end of the day.”
Ellin goes on to explain potential pushback:
At the same time, he said pushback is inevitable. Organizations and businesses that don’t already have pre-existing relationships with secondary food vendors, Arroyo said, may initially struggle.
However, the Office of Food Justice will help, so that there will always be people dedicated to oversight of this program, he said. This way the city can facilitate conversation between the food waste generators and the non-profit food providers.
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