Costa launches food collection program for needy in Italy

The Costa Diadema at port in Trieste, Italy

Costa Cruises and the Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus last week launched a partnership project that will allow surplus food on board one of the line’s cruise ships to be retrieved and served on shore.

The project is being officially launched on the Costa Diadema, the Italian company's flagship, during its call at Savona, Italy. Food from the ship is collected on board that has been prepared but not served in the ship's restaurants for distribution to a local organization that assists needy children.

The launch was attended by the Hon. Maria Chiara Gadda, promoter and sponsor of the Italian Law 166/2016 that called for donations of surplus food and the Senator Andrea Olivero, Italian Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. The law passed in September of last year

Neil Palomba, President of Costa Cruises, said it was the cruise line’s goal to add more ships and ports in the program.

“Since preparing food for disembarkation is a unique occurrence, it has led to the direct participation of the Customs Agency and Maritime Health Organization 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,” he said.

"After the Gadda Law against food waste came into effect," said Andrea Giussani, President of the Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus, "we worked with Costa Cruises for eight months to organize 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 organization 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."

The Costa Diadema sails on one-week cruises in the Mediterranean that call at Savona on Saturdays. Every Friday, before the ship arrives in Savona, at the end of dinner, all dishes prepared in the restaurants and not served to guests will be collected. They will be placed in special aluminum containers, sealed and labeled to ensure that they can be traced, and then stored in the refrigerators. The next morning, after the ship docks at Savona, the containers will be unloaded and delivered to the Banco Alimentare volunteers, who will take them to Varazze (a town near Savona), to the Fondazione L'Ancora, which runs accommodation that is home to 20 children, and provides food aid to more than 280 people in need, including refugees.