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Guatemala: Policy Highlights and Opportunities

Each year approximately 52 million tons (14–16%) of all food in Guatemala is either lost or wasted along the supply chain. The benefits of greater food recovery and donation are particularly apparent in Guatemala, as more than 1 million people were in need of emergency food assistance by the end of 2020.

Atlas Research: Guatemala

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Legal Guide

Learn more about the legal frameworks relevant to food donation and how Guatemala's existing laws and policies support or hinder the country's progress.

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Policy Recommendations

Dive into recommendations for policymakers based on the gaps and opportunities identified in the legal guides.

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Executive Summary

Read highlights of the research findings and our high-level recommendations.

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Policy Highlights

Guatemala research was published in March 2021 and was made possible with the advice and support of our on-site partners, including Desarrollo en Movimiento.
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Food Safety for Donations

Guatemala is one of the few countries that directly addresses food donation in its national food safety framework. The Health Code (La Código de Salud) and its 

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Food Safety Regulation (Reglamento para la Inocuidad de los Alimentos or RSA) set forth general food safety standards that apply to donated food and also feature donation-specific provisions.

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Date Labeling

Guatemala standardizes date labels under the Food Safety Regulation, but it has not been updated to align with the 2018 version of the Codex Alimentarius General Standard, which designates the “expiration date” 

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as a safety-based label and “best before” as an indication of quality. As a result, manufacturers in Guatemala continue to use the “expiration date” to reflect quality rather than safety.

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Policy Opportunities and Recommendations

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Liability Protection for Food Donations

Guatemala currently lacks comprehensive national liability protections for food donors and food recovery organizations. As a result, such actors may perceive food donation as an unnecessarily risky endeavor and elect to discard rather than donate safe, surplus foods. 

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The country should adopt legislation that protects those that act in “good faith” (“buena fe”) and adhere to relevant laws and expand protections.

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Tax Incentives and Barrier

Although Guatemala has removed the value-added tax as a potential barrier to food donation, the tax benefits available to food donors are insufficient to incentivize donation. Under the Ley de Actualización Tributaria (“Tax Law”), donors may claim a tax deduction of up to 5% of the donor’s annual gross 

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income for monetary or in-kind donations made to qualified receiving institutions. Guatemala should expand the charitable deduction to allow donors to recover more costs, amongst other strategies.

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Mapping food donation policies around the world

The Atlas map compares food donation laws and policies in different countries and evaluates legislation across several issue areas. Use the map to see where your country stands and learn from best practices around the world.

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About Us

Learn about the project and the partners behind this flagship research.

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Read our detailed project methodology rooted in inclusion, accuracy, and transparency.

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