Last September a new law on food waste came into force, an intervention to encourage the recovery and donation of goods to non-profit entities. A legislation that aims to simplify the bureaucracy of the donation and reduce the amount of food discarded for aesthetic or commercial reasons. In this article we will analyze how the food waste control law  influences the operators of the catering sector.

How to donate non-marketable food?

Following the law of September 2016, the they can decide to donate completely free food that is still considered edible, but not marketable. The donation must be intended exclusively for social solidarity, therefore in general public, private and non-profit organizations.

The transfer of food can be carried out beyond the minimum shelf life, provided that the integrity of the packaging and the conditions of the food are suitable. Foods that do not fall within the characteristics for human consumption can be donated for animal feed or for composting.

Restaurants can do their part against food waste thanks to the doggy bag . The national waste prevention program has in fact invited the regions to equip the premises with suitable containers with which customers take home leftovers.

What foods can be donated?

The new law identifies two key definitions: food waste and food surplus. In the first case we are talking about products discarded from agri-food sales which are still consumable, but destined to be disposed of as waste. In the case of the surplus, however, the products remain unsold for commercial, aesthetic or short-term reasons.

All foods can be sold, but baked foods are a special case. The donation of bakery products indeed  must take place within twenty-four hours following the production of the products themselves.

What tax benefits for those who donate?

To increase participation in the recovery of food destined for disposal, tax breaks have been created. For example, Italian municipalities can apply a reduction in the TARI on non-domestic, therefore commercial and distribution users.

Furthermore, the new legislation provides for a simplification of bureaucratic procedures, facilitating the donation. The limit on the cost of exemption from prior notification has been raised from 5,000 to 15,000, tripling the chances of a second life for food.

According to some estimates, the amount of waste will increase by 40% by 2020. An alarming figure, but which with some prevention strategies can be reduced, like food waste itself.  Have you already sold food that is no longer marketable? Tell us your story in the comments.

December 16, 2016