Colombia: Policy Highlights and Opportunities
Each year Colombia loses and wastes more than 9.54 million tons of food. At the same time, more than 22% of the population was facing moderate to severe food insecurity prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Colombian government has responded to these challenges in recent years by adopting legislative frameworks intended to promote greater food security and food recovery.
Atlas Research: Colombia
Colombia research was published in February 2021 and was made possible with the advice and support of our on-site partners, including the Asociación de Bancos de Alimentos de Colombia.
Tax Incentives and Barriers
Colombia’s national income tax regime incentivizes and rewards taxpayers that donate rather than discard safe, surplus food. A 2016 tax reform confirmed that donors may claim a tax credit equivalent to 25%
of the value of donations made to registered nonprofit entities. Food donations made to food recovery organizations may qualify for this benefit.
Liability Protection for Food Donation
Colombia limits potential liability that may be imposed on food donors in the event that a beneficiary is harmed. Law 1990 exclusively recognizes receiving institutions as responsible for the donated food’s receipt, storage, and quality.
This responsibility is triggered once the receiving entity takes possession of the donated food.
Policy Opportunities and Recommendations
Food Safety for Donations
The government should update the food safety legal framework to specifically address food donation. This may entail amendments that feature donation-specific language, or may involve the adoption of a new resolution that focuses exclusively on safely donating food.
The government should update regulations on labeling for prepackaged foods, distinguishing between and quality- and safety-based date labels, consistent with the dual date labeling scheme elaborated in the Codex Alimentarius’ 2018 guidance and endorsed by the Consumer Goods Forum.
Donation Requirements or Food Waste Penalities
The government should collaborate with private-sector actors to ensure that the construction, implementation, and enforcement of Law 1990 effectively promotes food recovery and donation without imposing an unreasonable burden.