LA City Council approves adoption of citywide surplus food policy

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Corey Moore/KPCC

Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar at a news conference at LA City Hall regarding surplus food policy.

The Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance today that strongly encourages city departments to donate extra food they might waste. Food banks and pantries urged the council to take action.

Councilman Jose Huizar crafted legislation for a citywide surplus food policy last year. He said he considers donating food another form of recycling.

Before the city council voted, Huizar told reporters that food donations should become the rule — not the exception — for city departments and contractors.

“For example at the Convention Center where they have a number of events each day, different organizations are going there, people are being fed each and every day, any surplus food that has not been unwrapped if it was wrapped, any proper fruits and vegetables that are available, they then will contact the local food bank or the local pantry and have them come pick up the food," said Huizar. "Typically, that’s how it’s currently working.”

Councilman Huizar said it’s unfortunate that so many people struggle to put food on the table in a state that throws away millions of tons of edible food each year. He and groups like Hunger Action Los Angeles worked to create the citywide program his council colleagues approved.

“More and more families and children are in the need of surplus food," Huizar said. "And with the debate going on in Washington, D.C., and hopefully President Obama gets what he wants and they extend the unemployment benefits… in the event that does not happen, we could imagine here locally how many more families will be in need of surplus food.”

Huizar projects that city departments will issue a report early this fall on the way they’re applying the food surplus policy.

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