According to Tarasuk (as cited in Raphael, 2016), if you and other members of your household worry that food would run out before you get money to buy more, you might be suffering from food insecurity. Using Health Canada’s yardstick for identifying food insecurity, it can be deduced that most Canadians have a secure access to food. In 2011 to 2012, approximately 8.3% of Canadians were identified to experience food insecurity (Roshanafshar & Hawkins, 2015), ranking Canada the 9th most food secure country globally (Global Food Security Index, 2017). Notwithstanding, Canada still tries to explore new methods that ensure a larger amount of its population receives good nutrition. One of such ways is the diversion of food waste to charitable food programs.
In the article “Food Waste and Food Insecurity in Canada” by Tarasuk and Dachner (2017), the inefficiencies of diverting food waste to food banks as a means of tackling food insecurity is explored. There are underlining issues with this solution, as charitable food assistance benefits private corporations, but fails to address upstream factors that leave individuals food insecure. One of such factors includes the low social capital that is present in communities that are dependent on food banks. The little amount of social resources available for citizens to pull themselves out of poverty leads to their dependence on government handouts. The situation could only be made worst when private corporations take advantage of waste food diversion policies, that save them money on tax returns. After the Influx of food items from these corporations, the food banks would potentially be left shorthanded; leading to a cascade of other possible problems.
Food Wastage Policies Benefits Self Interest Groups
The primary goal of any serious business is to make a return on investment. If the gained profit happens to be achieved at the expense of others, it can be easily brushed off by some kind of community service. This becomes problematic with the introduction of corporate tax credits and Good Samaritan Legislations. When companies carry out community services, it usually involves taking on costs. As it might require purchasing environmentally friendly equipment, implementing stricter quality controls, or new health and safety programs (Branco & Rodrigues, 2006, p. 112). Food producers that engage in corporate social responsibilities (CSR) such as the donation of waste food to food banks, bypass some of these costs. Rather they save money on waste disposal services and get corporate tax credits for donated food. Furthermore, due to Good Samaritan legislation in some provinces, food producers are not held liable for the health and safety of donated waste food items (Tarasuk & Dachner, 2017).
Increase in Food Leads to Increase in Labor
The ability to receive donated food items is just the tip of the iceberg on how food banks operate. Food pantries must also consider storage, distribution and disposal mechanisms in order to effectively process the donated food items (Tarasuk & Dachner, 2017). The integrity of these mechanisms become questionable when the amount of food received is beyond its capabilities, leading to the need for an increase in labor force. Moreover, food programs distribute food to people who are particularly susceptible to foodborne illnesses (Cristin & Eileen, 2005); thus, requiring trained professionals and volunteers who ensure the safety of donated food items. This becomes a crisis when food banks cannot get enough volunteers, or afford training programs and trained professionals. Both the breakdown of food processing mechanisms and the upstream environmental factors of its customers could lead to increased health risks rather than a reduction in food insecurity.