Argentina: Policy Highlights and Opportunities
Each year, Argentina loses and wastes 16 million tons of food. At the same time, more than 11% of the population experiences severe food insecurity. Amidst these trends, the government has taken meaningful federal action, introducing a National Plan for the Reduction of Food Loss and Waste (el Plan Nacional de Reducción de Pérdidas y Desperdicio de Alimentos) and amending the national Food Donation Law (“Ley Donal”) to provide additional support for food donors, food banks, and other food recovery organizations.
Atlas Research: Argentina
Argentina research was published in June 2020 and was made possible with the advice and support of our on-site partners, including Red Argentina de Bancos de Alimentos.
Liability Protections for Food Donations
Argentina is one of the few countries to offer liability protections for food donations—a policy solution that has the potential to significantly strengthen food recovery efforts. In 2018, the federal government amended its national Food Donation Law to include
a new liability protection for food donors, provided they donate food to qualifying intermediary organizations that equitably distribute the food, free of charge. These food recovery organizations are also eligible for this protection.
Government and Grant Incentives
The Argentina government has engaged with private sector actors to support food recovery innovation. For example, in 2019, the federal government launched a contest to grant non-reimbursable financing for innovative food waste solutions in Argentina’s horticultural sector.
This grant is administered under the government’s National Food Loss and Waste Reduction Program and in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank through its “#SinDesperdicio” platform.
Policy Opportunities and Recommendations
Food Safety for Donation
To ensure that food is donated safely and does not pose risks to recipients, as well as provide clarity to encourage food donors, the federal government should amend the Argentine Food Code to feature donation-specific provisions.
The government should also produce and disseminate clarifying guidance on which food safety requirements are relevant to donation to help facilitate the safe donation of surplus food.
To ensure that quality-based date labels do not result in the disposal of food that is otherwise safe for consumption or donation, the federal government should coordinate with other Mercosur countries to endorse a standard, dual-labeling system that clearly distinguishes between quality and safety-based dates.
Argentina should subsequently permit the donation of food after the quality date and promote consumer education and awareness on the meaning of date labels.
Tax Incentives and Barriers
To ensure that food donation is perceived as an economical alternative to throwing away food, the government should exempt the free donation of food from the list of activities for which a Value Added Tax (VAT) credit must be reimbursed.
Additional changes to tax laws may further incentivize food donation, such as: offering tax credits for the donation of food and providing an increased deduction for food donations and associated costs.