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Assembly Health Committee Advances Food Donation Bill Requiring Suppliers to Redirect Surplus Food

Trenton (March 15, 2024) – Legislation requiring certain supermarkets, grocery stores, and food suppliers to donate consumable food that would have otherwise been discarded cleared the Assembly Health Committee on Thursday. Bill A2141, sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Moen and Assemblywoman Shama Haider, would ensure these entities make a reasonable effort to donate excess food to various food banks, nonprofit organizations, and New Jersey residents.

“Every meal that we are able to rescue from disposal is a step in the direction of a healthier and more sustainable future,” said Assemblyman Moen (D-Camden, Gloucester). “A2141 would tackle the growing issue of food waste in a way that benefits those struggling with food insecurity, especially in food deserts where access to fresh and nutritious options is already limited.”

Under the bill, certain supermarkets, grocery stores, and food suppliers would be required to donate consumable food that they do not sell. This provision tackles the growing issue of food insecurity by providing benefits to those in need, while simultaneously promoting sustainable practices in preventing food waste. The bill defines a supermarket or grocery store as a retail outlet operating in a closed structure with an area greater than 16,000 square feet, of which 90 percent is occupied by food or related products. It also defines a food supplier as an entity located in the state that distributes or sells food to a supermarket or grocery store.

According to the National Resource Defense Council, as much as 40 percent of food goes uneaten in the United States.

“As legislators we cannot overlook the astonishing level of food waste taking place in our country,” said Assemblywoman Haider (D-Bergen). “By requiring large food retailers to donate surplus food, we prevent waste while providing healthy meals to individuals facing food insecurity.”