Cuomo signs law requiring supermarkets to donate 'excess food' to food pantries

ALBANY (WCBS 880) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a new law creating new guidelines for supermarkets to donate “excess food” to food banks across New York State.

For many families, it’s a struggle to put food on the table, but that struggle has only increased due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, more and more families have turned to the government for help, but food banks across the state have had to stretch resources to meet the demand.

Now, a new law will require large supermarkets to donate excess food nearing the sell-by-date to non-profits or religious organizations that provide free food to their communities.

Assemblyman Tom Abinati was one of the main supporters of the bill, which he says will significantly help food banks meet new demands for food.

"In speaking with the Westchester Food Bank and some of the community organizations that are distributing food, they are seeing the demand for their food double,” he explained. “We're seeing lines like we've never before. We're seeing people who never before had problems putting food on the table are now needing the services of the food bank and the community organizations that distribute food.”

Abinati says that throughout the pandemic, supermarkets have continued on as normal, meaning plenty of food is going to waste.

“It's really unfortunate in the land of plenty we have so many hungry people who cannot, because of the pandemic, fend for themselves and put food on the table,” he said.

He says this new law will assist supermarkets by helping them save on carting costs and there will be less food going to waste.

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