A tax break that Congresswoman Chellie Pingree says will reduce food waste passed the House today as part of a larger package of tax provisions. The provision creates a permanent, "enhanced" tax deduction for grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers who donate excess food to organizations like food banks and soup kitchens.
The provision, which is part of Pingree's Food Recovery Act, was originally introduced in a bill written by Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY).
"This tax break makes it easier and more worthwhile for businesses, including farms, to donate excess food to a food bank," Pingree said. "It will mean less food going to landfills and more food going to feed people struggling with hunger."
An enhanced tax deduction means the taxpayer gets credit for the full value of the food plus an additional deduction to compensate for the expense and labor of donating the product. The provision also increases the maximum tax deduction from 10% to 15% of taxable income.
An estimated 40% of food produced every year in the United States is wasted while nearly 50 million people struggle with hunger. Pingree says if food waste is reduced by just 15% and good quality, wholesome food is redirected to people in need, the number of hungry Americans could be cut in half.