New law signed by governor aims to address food waste in schools

Concord Monitor
Published: 5/20/2021 11:05:01 PM
Modified: 5/20/2021 11:05:03 PM

CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu signed a new bill into law this week that allowing students to eat school lunch leftovers over the weekend, aiming to address food waste and childhood hunger.

The bill allows school districts to partner with a nonprofit organization to freeze leftover food from school and turn them into “TV dinners” that students can take home and eat over the weekend. The law aims to combat the issue of food waste in school cafeterias, while helping hungry kids.

“Allowing New Hampshire schools to partner with nonprofits to put leftover school food to good use is a common-sense move that will serve to help reduce child hunger within our communities,” Sununu said Monday. “I am pleased to sign this piece of legislation into law to help strengthen community ties, utilize resources while reducing waste, and take another step forward in combating food insecurity.”

The new law doesn’t require districts to implement this system, and no prior law banned schools from doing it. Instead, the act, which was inspired by a similar food program at a school in Elkhart, Ind., aims to codify a school’s ability to donate leftover food.

The weekend meal packaging has to be in compliance with state and federal FDA food safety regulations. Schools are protected from liability under the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.

In New Hampshire, 1 in 8 children experiences food insecurity, according to Feeding America, and state data shows 26.4% of students enrolled in public schools qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

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