Israel ranks last among the OECD countries in the number of policy tools it has implemented to eradicate the food loss crisis, according to Leket Israel’s 7th Annual Food Waste and Rescue Report.
The report, which examines the governmental steps taken in OECD countries to implement policy tools to reduce food waste, reveals that while Israeli government ministries formed various plans to reduce poverty and minimize social gaps, it appears the issue of food waste and rescue is “not a priority.”
The report was produced in collaboration with the Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry and Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic.
According to the estimates in the report, the extent of food loss in Israel in 2021 is 2.6 million tons (52 billion lbs) valued at NIS 21.3 billion (US $6.1 billion), consisting of 37 percent of food production in Israel. Of this, 50 percent of the food is salvageable and fit for human consumption, translating to over 1 million tons (2 billion lbs) at a value of NIS 7.5 billion (US $2.14 billion).
A comparison with countries around the world reveals that the food waste crisis is not unique to the Israeli economy.
However, among the 18 countries studied in the policy index supporting food rescue and food waste reduction, Israel has implemented the fewest number of policy tools to eradicate this phenomenon, ranking it last of the 18 countries measured.
According to Leket Israel, rescuing just 20 percent of the food currently going to waste would close the entire food insecurity gap in Israel and cost just NIS 1.1 billion ($314 million).
“The time has come for a complete overhaul of priorities in Israel, coming directly from the Prime Minister’s Office with food rescue at the top of the list,” said Leket Israel CEO Gidi Kroch.
“Additionally, food rescue helps reduce gas emissions and pollutants and strengthens the fight against the global climate crisis.
“It is incomprehensible that there is a solution that exists which would be effective across the board with economic, social, environmental and health benefits, and yet, the government ignores it with indifference.
“We no longer have that privilege,” Kroch warned. “The entire world is under real threat. The time to act is now, we need to take effective steps to reduce food waste and to preserve existing resources. Israel must come out of its indifference and immediately join the fight to reduce this crisis.”