House bill aims to limit food waste and increase donations to nonprofits

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Lawmakers have passed a bill with bipartisan support aimed at increasing food donations, across the Last Frontier.

House Bill 186 would allow restaurants, grocery stores and hotels to donate out dated food items to food banks and charities, without liability.

Currently, grocery stores can send items to food banks and pantries, without liability, through the The Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.

The Food Bank of Alaska provides food to more than 200 organizations, across the state.

It says the bill could mean more donations, but might also mean having to plan differently for those.

"With restaurant food, deli food and hot food, it's a little trickier," says Cara Durr, with the Food Bank of Alaska. "They have to stay at a stable temperature. Food that's been heated often has to be frozen to be donated and kept frozen throughout the process. So sometimes, that includes having a freezer truck, and these are things not all our partner organizations have."

Catholic Social Services runs a food pantry, where the items they have available are more to prepare meals at home.

If the bill passes, CSS staff say they wouldn't want to see the quality of donations decrease. They actually recommend calling organizations ahead of time to make sure the contribution fit the groups' needs.

H.B. 186 has been referred to the senate's health and social services committee.