Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tax credit considered for restaurants, others to donate food

There aren't many things both major political parties agree on in our dysfunctional state government. But, the fact we should stop wasting so much food is one of them.

Bipartisan legislation now is under consideration in both the New York State Senate and the Assembly to give restaurant, caterers, grocery stores, and other food industry companies an incentive to donate surplus food to local food banks or pantries through a tax credit.

Supporters of the measure say food waste is a national concern across the country, and New York ranks among the top 20 states with the worst food hardship with some analyses claiming one in eight residents struggles with hunger.

Food companies that donate excess food already qualify for a federal charitable tax deduction. An additional credit from the state could be an incentive to smaller stores and restaurants that may not have the necessary staff, storage, and infrastructure to handle food donations, according to Mark Dwyer, a spokesman for Foodlink, told WXXI-TV.

"Of course, as a food bank we think it's always the right thing to do for all retailers to donate, but we also understands it takes energy and staff time to really properly set up the right procedures with regards to storage and distribution."

Dwyer said Foodlink’s 90,000 square foot warehouse can accommodate more donated food, but said it may make sense for smaller operations, such as restaurants, to collaborate directly with local food pantries.

"When I think of restaurant food, I think of food that's almost already to eat and food that they're not using that needs to be eaten within the day, within hours, perhaps.”

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