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With 1 in 10 Angelenos in Need of Food, City Council to Consider Food Surplus Policy Today

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A reporter talks about American Idol as a man eats out of a garbage can in Hollywood | Photo by Jeff__ via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

A reporter talks about American Idol as a man eats out of a garbage can in Hollywood | Photo by Jeff__ via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
More than many other major cities, Los Angeles has year-round access to locally grown food, but it doesn't mean hunger is a problem. And in a city known for its large events and parties, a plethora of catering companies are out there serving food, yet are also throwing it away when all is said and done. One of those institutions at the receiving end is the city of Los Angeles, where leftover food at city functions might get wasted.

Today, Councilmember Jose Huizar hopes his proposal to set a citywide policy on food surplus is approved. If so, it will be a major step in creating a policy that would instruct departments and offices of elected officials to give away surplus food whenever possible. The L.A. Convention Center already has an established food surplus policy. A database of local food banks and pantries in need of donations would also be created to encourage residents and businesses to do the same.

Statewide, an estimated 5 to 6 million tons of food is wasted. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank earlier this year released a report finding that 10% of L.A. County residents were in need of food assistance in 2009. The number reflects a 46% jump since 2005.

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At the state level, a food scraps bill by Long Beach Senator Jenny Oropeza would also encourage local businesses to donate food to non profits. It would also lead to the creation of a webpage that would centralize all the information about donating food under various laws, some which protect those who donate food from liability.