Working to raise awareness for food waste prevention, a measure (formerly AJR-172) sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joann Downey, Gordon Johnson and Jamel Holley to designate Thursday of the third week in September as “Food Waste Prevention Day” was signed into law Thursday by Governor Phil Murphy.
The law’s sponsors released the following statements:
Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Monmouth): “Each year in the United States, approximately 160 billion pounds of food end up as food waste, while about 12 percent of households lack consistent access to adequate food. This is unacceptable. By dedicating a day to our country’s food waste epidemic and educating the public on this critical issue, we can reduce the financial, environmental and social impacts of food waste, and make sure that good food ends up with people who need it rather than in the trash.”
Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen): “Many businesses are wary of donating their excess food due to the threat of liability for food related injuries or death. While we have both federal and state laws absolving those who donate food in good faith to nonprofit organizations from civil and criminal liability, many businesses and individuals are unaware of this. By creating Food Waste Prevention Day, we can expand awareness of laws and programs that help get food in the hands and stomachs of those who need it most. Our goal is to reduce our food waste by 50 percent by 2030, and this law will assist us in achieving this goal.”
Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-Union): “There is no reason why the United States wastes up to 40 percent of the food we produce while there are millions of hungry people all across the country and hundreds of thousands right here in our state alone. We must increase awareness of the sheer amount of good food that ends up in landfills, and I have no doubt that this will cause many of our businesses and residents to reconsider throwing out food unnecessarily. The goal of Food Waste Prevention Day is to bring light to a solvable issue which negatively impacts our environment, finances, and most importantly, our hungry residents.”