Ecuador: Policy Highlights and Opportunities
Each year, approximately 900,000 tons of food in Ecuador is either lost or wasted along the supply chain. The benefits of greater food recovery and donation are particularly apparent in Ecuador as 32.7% of the population was moderately or severely food insecure between 2018 and 2020, an almost threefold increase from years prior. Ecuador also has the second-highest level of chronic childhood malnutrition in Latin America.
Atlas Research: Ecuador
Ecuador research was published in October 2022 and was made possible with the advice and support of our on-site partners, including Banco de Alinentos Quito and Banco de Alimentos Diakonía.
National Law or Policy on Food Waste
Ecuador’s FLW Law bans disposing food that is fit for human consumption and includes a hierarchy of alternative uses such as donating to a food bank, feeding animals, producing renewable energy, and composting.
Anybody who disposes food fit for human consumption is subject to a fine.
Ecuador’s new FLW Law provides robust criminal and civil liability protection for food donors, who are protected from liability unless they act with gross negligence.
The FLW Law directs the president of Ecuador to establish and implement general regulations in all aspects of the law, which may provide additional guidance for actors seeking liability protection.
Policy Opportunities and Recommendations
The new FLW Law requires all donated food to meet the baseline safety requirements of existing standards and protocols. It does not include any new, donation-specific requirements.
The existing standards and protocols include all labeling requirements as well as all sanitary regulations. Food recovery organizations that receive donations must distribute them immediately to avoid decomposition.
Ecuador’s date label requirements do not clarify which date labels relate to food safety and which refer to food quality. Most food products are required to have a “maximum consumption date” or “expiration date,” both of which relate to food quality.
If the manufacturer chooses to include the maximum consumption date, it must also include the date of manufacture or date of production. The FLW Law allows food to be donated past its expiration date.
Ecuador does not currently have any tax incentives to encourage food donation. The FLW Law directs Ecuador’s provincial governments to consider the issuance of tax incentives for donors,
those that facilitate donations, and recipient organizations. Additionally, the FLW Law directs the president to determine the feasibility of tax incentives for donors.