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New initiative allows surplus food to be distributed to vulnerable Canadians

18 August 2020

Investment from the Canadian government brings aid organisations together to provide surplus food to people in need.

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, has announced details of the first-ever federal government programme that will provide millions of pounds of quality, nutritious, surplus food to Canada’s most vulnerable populations.

In a statement to the media, she said:

“This is a win-win. Not only are we helping producers who cannot sell their goods to restaurants, but we are also aiding Canadians that have had to seek help from food banks. These eight impressive partnerships between food businesses and not-for-profit organisations, target those food commodities that had significant and urgent surpluses, making a difference both at the level of the producer and the food bank, from coast-to-coast-to-coast.”

The innovative Surplus Food Rescue Programme is a $50-million federal initiative designed to address urgent, high volume, highly perishable surplus products falling under fruit, vegetables, meat and fish and seafood. These surpluses were created because the COVID-19 pandemic largely shut down the restaurant and hospitality industry, leaving many producers without a key market for their food commodities.

The Programme awarded contributions to eight organisations that leverage existing food redistribution and recovery networks and agencies, who will bring the food to every region in the country. Partners, which include leading not-for-profits Food Banks Canada and Second Harvest, and La Tablée des Chefs, will redistribute products such as potatoes, walleye, chicken, turkey, eggs, and more. In total, the programme will redistribute approximately 12 million kilograms of surplus food to more food insecure families that would otherwise have been wasted.

Chis Hatch, CEO of Food Banks Canada said:

“We are very grateful for this investment by the federal government. It leverages the deep supply chain expertise and knowledge the food banking network has, thereby helping those in Canada experiencing food insecurity in the most efficient manner. We are thankful for the opportunity to build deeper partnerships within the agri-food system as well as helping ensure that highly nutritious, available food feeds people in need and that these resources are stewarded responsibly.”

The significant disruptions to Canada’s restaurant and hospitality industry caused by COVID-19 has left many producers with surplus food and no way to get it onto the plates of Canadians. The eight partnerships announced which involve over 100 different organisations will help farmers meet the needs of vulnerable Canadians and recover the cost of their efforts.



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