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Feds Announce Details of $50 Million Food Surplus Program

Applications from for-profit and not-for-profit organizations are now open for the $50 million food surplus program which was announced by the federal government in May, a June 15 news release from the ministry of agriculture and agri-food says.

“The pandemic has caused significant fluctuations in food demand and supply, resulting in surplus food across our country,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, says in the release. “We are working hard to help manage and redirect this surplus food to those who need it during this difficult time.”

The program’s aim is to move surplus food such as potatoes and other possible horticulture, fish and seafood and meat which has piled up due to disruptions to the food supply chain from the pandemic food service industry closures. The pandemic has also caused increased demand at food banks and other food security organizations, the release notes.

The program has two core objectives. One is to provide assistance to organizations serving vulnerable populations to acquire and process surplus commodities and food which would otherwise be lost or destroyed and distribute them to populations in need. The second is to connect surplus food commodities to vulnerable populations in order to avoid food waste.

The aim is to ensure surplus food reaches vulnerable populations in Canada through the purchase, processing, transportation and redistribution of surplus food, the release says. The program is designed to rescue surplus food which may be fresh, frozen inventory or in need of further processing due to its highly perishable nature.

Eligible applicants include for-profit and not-for-profit organizations (industry groups, processors, distributors, food serving agencies, regional and municipal governments and agencies which can include schools or school boards) who can demonstrate an ability to handle the full logistical requirements for acquiring, processing, transporting and ensuring shelf-life stability of surplus commodities and delivery to organizations serving vulnerable populations. Applications will be accepted until July 15, for more information about the application process visit the Surplus Food Rescue Program page.

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