Pre-filed bill would create the Missouri Food Waste Law and help charities

Published: Jan. 3, 2019 at 5:13 AM CST
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Missouri lawmakers are gearing up for the 2019 legislative session with hundreds of bills ready to go. One of them could help get more food on pantry shelves for the needy.

If passed, House Bill 47 will create the Missouri Food Waste Law. The bill states that, "All persons including, but not limited to, producers, distributors, wholesalers, grocery store owners and other retailers, and restaurant owners, owning an establishment having annual food sale revenues exceeding $5 million shall donate 10% of their excess food, fit for human consumption, to needy individuals or to nonprofit organizations that provide food to needy individuals."

"This bill could really help supplement our shelves, especially when they're low," said Jeff Smith with the Salvation Army. "There's food on the shelves, but come back tomorrow and those shelves will be pretty bare." Smith said the organization sees more than 100 families visit their client choice food pantry every Wednesday.

If a business or organization is found making their food inedible, that'd break this new law. "Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be assessed a fine of up to $25,000," according to the bill.

In the end Jeff Smith thinks it's not just about the legislative side of things, it also needs to be about doing the right thing. "People don't want to have to come to the food pantry, but they're glad it's available."

The Missouri legislative session will start Wednesday, January 9, 2019.