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A02409 Summary:

COSPNSRCook, Galef, Rosenthal L, Harris, Sepulveda, Jaffee, Titone, Lavine, Buchwald, Quart, Carroll, Lifton, Rozic, Mayer, Dinowitz, Zebrowski, Paulin, Gottfried
MLTSPNSRCahill, Hooper, Lupardo, Magee, McDonough, Walsh
Amd 16, Ag & Mkts L; amd 305, Ed L
Authorizes the commissioner of education, in cooperation with the commissioner of agriculture and markets, to establish voluntary guidelines to provide for the donation of excess, unused, edible food from school, university or other educational institutions' meal programs to voluntary food assistance programs.
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A02409 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law and the education law, in relation to authorizing school districts and institutions of higher education to donate excess food to local voluntary food assistance programs   PURPOSE OF BILL: To help encourage the establishment of voluntary programs to assist and facilitate the ability of schools districts and institutions of higher learning to donate excess unused food items from their school meal programs to voluntary food assistance programs, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and other community and not-for-profit organizations that distribute food to the poor and disadvantaged.   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1: Amends Agriculture and Markets Law section 16 to authorize the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets to cooperate with the Commissioner of Education in developing guidelines for a voluntary program to coordinate the donation of excess, unused, edible food derived from school meal programs to voluntary food assistance programs for the poor and disadvantaged, including community food pantries, soup kitchens, and other community or not-for-profit organizations that distribute food. Section 2: Adds a new Education Law section 305 (32) to authorize, but not mandate that, the Commissioner of Education to develop, at its own initiative, voluntary guidelines to encourage and facilitate the ability of school districts and institutions of higher learning to donate excess, unused, edible food items from meals served at such facilities to local voluntary food assistance programs. To minimize any potential mandates on school districts, institutions of higher learning, and to the Department of Education, all that is being asked to be done is to help to establish, at its own initiative, some form of channel of commu- nication between such educational institutions and nearby voluntary food assistance programs. Such programs would only be established if it is advantageous to the institution and food pantry or other community food group. In addition, the segregation of such surplus donated food items could reduce the waste collection fees needed to cart such items away from such institutions. This section also interrelates the communication between schools and food pantries with the farm-to-school program and the New York Harvest for New York Kids week program, which already is a line of communication on food and nutrition between the schools and Agriculture and Markets.   JUSTIFICATION: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has encouraged the creation of programs that collect food that would otherwise be discarded and donate it to voluntary feeding programs such as food pantries and soup kitchens. There are existing efforts to collect food leftovers from food service operations such as grocery stores, hospitals, and restau- rants. School meal programs are a large potential source of new donors to supply such much needed nourishment to food pantries and other such organizations. There is funding for food collection through the Depart- ment of Health's Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) which provides State support for emergency food programs. Schools are required to carefully plan menus to meet the nutritional needs of chil- dren and minimize food waste. However, at times when there is bad weather, high absenteeism, or other unusual circumstances there may be significant unserved food that could be used by emergency food programs. Nearly two million school lunches and breakfasts are served every day in New York State. This large amount of surplus or excess food could potentially be re-directed to those who are most in need. This bill has benefits for the environment as well. This bill, by encouraging efforts to minimize the wasting of food, is beneficial to the environment in many ways. First, the growing, transporting, and warehousing of food is a very energy intensive endeavor at all steps of the production and distribution chain. Food production has a large carbon "foot print". Hence, by better utilizing foods that have already been grown, transported to the local area, and warehoused, that will cut down on the energy consumption needed to grow additional amounts of crops that are laid to waste and not used to provide nourishment to individuals.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009/10: A6453A Vetoed, Tabled 2011/12: A6330A Amended and Referred to Education 2013/14: A5218 Referred to Education 2015/16: A4833 Referred to Education   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: 180 days after it shall have become law.
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