New measure to donate catered leftovers

VENICE, Calif. State Senator Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach) held a leftover luncheon in Venice on Friday to introduce the proposed legislation.

"Millions of tons of edible food, just like this, are thrown away in California. Can you imagine? Tons," said State Senator Oropeza.

The bill would require restaurants, caterers, hotels and other retail food facilities to include language in their catering contracts that gives customers the option of taking leftover food home, or donating it to the Food Bank.

"If this bill is adopted, and we are optimistic that it will be, it would ease some of these problems by putting good, edible food on the tables of the hungry," said State Senator Oropeza.

Even food catered for some of Hollywood's biggest events could end up on the tables of the needy.

"Hunger is a national disgrace. There is no reason to be throwing food out in this country," said John Knapp, president, Food Bank of Southern California.

Knapp estimates the law would result in a 45 percent increase in the amount of overall food donated to the bank each year.

"That's going to feed close to a million children in a year's time. That's a lot of children," said Knapp.

The California Restaurant Association says the bill needs to simmer a little longer. While the association supports the bill in concept, it would change the catering industry. It would force restaurants to repackage the leftover food and it would make them liable if it spoils.

State lawmakers could vote on the bill as early as next week.


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