Costa Cruises and Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus have announced a partnership to allow surplus food on board cruise ships to be retrieved and reused.
The project was officially launched on board ’Costa Diadema’, the Italian company’s flagship, during a call at Savona. It involves collecting food on board that has been prepared but not served in the ship’s restaurants and distributing it to a local organisation that provides assistance to children in need.
The launch was attended by the Hon Maria Chiara Gadda, promoter and sponsor ofthe Italian Law 166/2016 in favour of donations of surplus food and Senator Andrea Olivero, Italian Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
“Being here today shows that the law against food waste, in force since last September, is bearing fruit and that the government has acted promptly and effectively and most importantly has triggered a cultural change on the issue of the battle against food waste and support for those in poverty.
“We must be aware of the widespread responsibility that this issue brings with it and that involves everyone, to different extents and in different ways, be they institutions, citizens, volunteers or the business world, because everyone can play their own part to help change things,” said Deputy Minister Olivero.
“I’m thrilled, and it’s a great source of pride for me to see that the innovation introduced by Law 166/2016, approved by the Italian Parliament with an overwhelming majority and strongly supported by the government, is bearing fruit.
“This is proof that politics is useful, and very much so: Parliament has been able to put needs and good practices into order. Today, this ambitious project is sending out an important message: retrieving surpluses even in the most complex situations is not just a pipe dream, but it is genuinely achievable if everyone takes on their share of responsibility,” said the Hon Maria Chiara Gadda.
“After the Gadda Law against food waste came into effect,” said Andrea Giussani, Banco Alimentare president, “we worked with Costa Cruises for eight months to organise a food surplus management procedure that would allow us to salvage high-quality and high-nutritional value food.
“Today we are very happy to know that this food will not be wasted but will be given to an organisation that provides assistance to children, at a time when ISTAT tells us that child poverty in Italy ‘has risen from 3.9% in 2005 to 12.5% in 2016’. From now on, we will be focusing on extending this best practice to other ports in Italy, and we hope that all stakeholders will collaborate, as has happened in Savona.”
“We are very proud of this initiative: it is something that is brand new for the cruise sector and something that Costa has been very keen to see take place. The Banco Alimentare is an authoritative partner and a point of reference in the fight against food waste, and it will allow us to donate surplus food to the people who need it most. We are beginning with Savona and our flagship ‘Costa Diadema’, but the common goal is to involve more and more ships and ports in Italy and the Mediterranean.
“Since preparing food for disembarkation is a unique occurrence, it has led to the direct participation of the Customs Agency and Maritime Health Organisation Agency in putting the finishing touches to the procedures for delivery, and it shows that it is possible to turn the opportunities provided by Law 166/2016 into something worthwhile. All this is a starting point for anyone who wants to join us in the maritime sector,” said Neil Palomba, President of Costa Cruises.
‘Costa Diadema’ sails on one-week cruises in the Mediterranean stopping at Savona on each Saturday of the year. Every Friday, before the ship arrives in Savona, at the end of dinner, all dishes prepared in the restaurants and not served to guests (the ‘ready to eat’ meals) will be collected. They will be placed in special aluminium containers that will be sealed and labelled to ensure that they can be traced, and then stored in the refrigerators on board.
The following morning, after the ship docks at Savona, the containers will be unloaded and delivered to Banco Alimentare volunteers, who will take them to Varazze, near Savona, to the Fondazione L’Ancora, which runs accommodation for 20 children, as well as providing food aid to over 280 people in need, including refugees.
“The social impact of the Gadda Law is very important for organisations like ours,” said Fausto Romano, Director Fondazione L’Ancora Onlus, “that assists people in need in overcoming the most difficult phases in their lives.
“The Fondazione L’Ancora Onlus has responded enthusiastically to the collaboration with Costa Cruises and Banco Alimentare to devise a plan for collecting and distributing food surpluses, which means we will receive varied and excellent quality food. Last but not least, from an educational perspective, the issue of reducing waste and of food as a gift is an important communication and growth tool for the children.”
The partnership became possible thanks to Law 166/2016 against food and pharmaceutical waste promoted by Chiara Gadda that came into effect on 14 September, 2016. The law restructures the regulatory framework concerning donations of unsold foods with simplification, harmonisation and incentive measures, making it easier to donate any type of food in a controlled and safe way like before, but most importantly, it gives priority to retrieving food to be donated to the poorest people in Italy.