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Food surplus program redistributes perishable products to vulnerable Canadians

August 15, 2020  By Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (edited)

From left to right, Julie Marchand, General Manager, Food Banks of Quebec, MarieClaude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Claude Dulude, CEO, Nutri Group, Marie-José Mastromonaco, Head of Operations (Québec), Second Harvest, Tania Little, Chief Development and Partnership Officer, Food Banks Canada, and Serge Lefebvre, President, Nutri Group.

The Surplus Food Rescue Program has awarded contributions to eight organizations that leverage existing food redistribution and recovery networks and agencies.

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 program will redistribute approximately 12 million kilograms of surplus food to more food insecure families that would otherwise have been wasted.

First announced back in in June 2020, the $50-million federal initiative is 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.


“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 organizations, 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,” says Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

The eight partnerships announced which involve over 100 different organizations will help farmers meet the needs of vulnerable Canadians and recover the cost of their efforts.

The funding provided under the Program is ensuring producers and food processors are fairly compensated for their work at the cost of production, while growing relationships with community food providers and supporting efforts to reduce food waste.

“The pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges across the entire food supply chain as well as for Canadians struggling with food access. Funding from the Surplus Food Rescue Program will have positive environmental, economic and social impact by diverting healthy surplus food to communities, instead of becoming landfill waste. As an organization with the dual mission of ‘no waste, no hunger,’ Second Harvest is proud to participate in this integrated response to meet the needs of the agri-food sector and vulnerable Canadians,” says Lori Nikkel, CEO, Second Harvest.

According to Statistics Canada, one in seven Canadians indicated that they live in a household where there was food insecurity over a one month period during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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