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October 26th, 2023

NDP tables a plan to reduce wasted food to save people money, so less Canadians go hungry

OTTAWA – On Thursday, NDP MP Bonita Zarrillo tabled a bill to create a National Strategy to reduce the amount of wasted food in Canada. This comes at a time when more Canadians than ever before are being forced to turn to food banks and people are having to put fresh fruit and vegetables back on the shelves – at the same time corporate grocery chains and large manufacturers are sending good, healthy food to the landfill.

Zarrillo’s bill would create a National Wasted Food Reduction and Recovery Strategy, that would include a plan to spread awareness on wasted food, support manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste, facilitate the donation of good, healthy food products so that they aren’t thrown away, and, establish national food waste reduction targets to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“Food is being thrown out at an alarming rate in Canada, all while families are cutting back or going hungry. This has got to change,” said Zarrillo. “And a lot of Canada’s food waste comes from big grocery stores and producers. Canada needs a plan to stop this avoidable food waste.”

Almost 60 per cent of food in Canada is lost or wasted, and a third of that food could be redirected to support Canadians.

"Food waste in Canada exacts a heavy toll on our environment, emitting greenhouse gases, depleting resources and pushing nutrition further out of reach for millions of people," said Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest. "Luckily, there are solutions. With decisive action from the federal government, we can prevent this environmental damage, redirect surplus food to people facing food insecurity and build a more sustainable future for our planet."

Igor Bjelac, Director of Immigrant Link Society stated, “Preventing food waste is not just an environmental responsibility, it's a moral obligation. In rescuing surplus food and channeling it to families in need, we bridge the gap between abundance and hunger”. Their organization currently rescues and redirects thousands of pounds of healthy food to families across Metro Vancouver each year.

Currently Canada has little to no plan to reduce wasted food, meanwhile excessive waste is forcing Canadians to pick up the costs of lost food.

“The Liberals have let big grocery CEOs make billions off the backs of working families, all while these same CEOs are harming our planet with excessive food waste,” added Zarrillo. “Creating a national strategy to address wasted food means less people will go hungry, people will save money, and there will be more protections in place for the environment. These are all things Canadians want, and New Democrats are fighting for."