#SolveFoodWaste. Supermarkets to donate unsold food to charity.

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My name is Chantel and growing up, food was never a constant in my house. We were poor and all of my childhood, I experienced food insecurity. Now that I work at a major supermarket, I’m horrified at the massive amounts of perfectly edible food that is discarded every day. It is estimated that $20 billion worth of edible food is wasted in Australia each year. This is why I’m calling to make it mandatory for supermarkets to donate unsold or surplus food. 

In 2019, FoodBank revealed that nearly 4 million people experienced food insecurity at some point in the past year. Tonnes of food is wasted every year while Australians are going hungry. There is enough food to feed everyone, we just need to divert it efficiently. The major supermarkets have significant power in tackling this issue.

Everyday, I see large amounts of edible food being thrown away because it doesn’t meet the supermarkets’ high cosmetic standards. Between 20-40% of fruits and vegetables don’t even make it to the shelf because they aren’t aesthetically pleasing enough. In fact, growers themselves don’t ship all of their fresh produce for a variety of superficial reasons such as uneven colour, shape etc because they have to fulfil the supermarkets’ strict standards. These quality assurance standards promote waste culture and it must stop now.

Food wastage has significant environmental effects too. It is responsible for around 8% of the global greenhouse gas because spoiled, rotting food produces methane, which is nearly thirty times more potent than carbon monoxide.

Last year, France introduced a law banning surplus food from being thrown away by supermarkets. Australia must follow France’s lead and make it mandatory for supermarkets to donate unsold or surplus food. The current food donations made by supermarket giants are a very small proportion of what is being dumped.

As a result of the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, we are in the worst recession in a century. The national unemployment rate is high and it will be very difficult for people to find new jobs. Australians are doing it tough. Now is the time to redirect edible food going to landfills to those in need.

Please sign and share my petition calling on the government to pass a law to ban food wastage by supermarkets and mandate donation of unsold produce to charities.