New law signed by governor aims to address food waste in schools

Monitor staff
Published: 5/20/2021 4:30:46 PM

Gov. Chris Sununu signed a new bill into law this week that addresses the issues of food waste and childhood hunger by allowing students to eat school lunch leftovers over the weekend.

The bill allows school districts to partner with a nonprofit organization to freeze leftover food from school and turn them into “TV dinners” that students can take home and eat over the weekend. The law aims to combat the issue of food waste in school cafeterias, while helping hungry kids.

“Allowing New Hampshire schools to partner with nonprofits to put leftover school food to good use is a common sense move that will serve to help reduce child hunger within our communities,” Sununu said Monday. “I am pleased to sign this piece of legislation into law to help strengthen community ties, utilize resources while reducing waste, and take another step forward in combating food insecurity.”

The new law doesn’t require districts to implement this system, and no prior law banned schools from doing it. Instead, the act, which was inspired by a similar food program at a school in Elkhart, Ind., aims to codify a school’s ability to donate leftover food.

The weekend meal packaging has to be in compliance with state and federal FDA food safety regulations. Schools are protected from liability under the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.

In New Hampshire, one in eight children experience food insecurity, according to Feeding America, and state data shows 26.4% of students enrolled in public schools qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch.


Eileen O

Eileen O'Grady is a Report for America corps member covering education for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. O’Grady is the former managing editor of Scope magazine at Northeastern University in Boston, where she reported on social justice issues, community activism, local politics and the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a native Vermonter and worked as a reporter covering local politics for the Shelburne News and the Citizen. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, The Bay State Banner, and VTDigger. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in politics and French from Mount Holyoke College, where she served as news editor for the Mount Holyoke News from 2017-2018.



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