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Community

RE-fished distributes meals to the needy

In collaboration with Banco Alimentare, the "RE-fished, from illegal trade to food charity" project

On 25 September, “RE-fished, from illegal trade to food charity”, a project promoted by Intesa Sanpaolo and Banco Alimentare in Sicily in 2019, was presented to the Mercati Agro Alimentari Sicilia (MASS) in Catania. The aim of the project is to recover, process and preserve seized fish and to distribute it to charitable organisations. Those taking part in the presentation include, among others, the minister for Regional Affairs, Francesco Boccia; Intesa Sanpaolo’s Regional Manager for Lazio, Sardinia, Sicily, Abruzzo and Molise, Pierluigi Monceri; Intesa Sanpaolo’s Head of Social Responsibility, Elena Jacobs; the General Director of Banco Alimentare, Giuseppe Parma; and the National Chairman of Coldiretti, Ettore Prandini.

The project

This is an important project in the fight against illegal trade and is very valuable from a charitable point of view, as each year, in Italy, over 10 tonnes of fish from illegal fishing (source: Mare Monstrum 2020 report by Legambiente)—predominantly in Sicily, in the provinces of Palermo, Catania and Messina—are seized. The Gadda Law, in force since 2016, allows seized fish that can still be consumed to be donated to charitable organisations. In order to make this type of food viable, it has to undergo a special process that involves recovering, preserving, treating and distributing it. This process makes salvaging such a highly nutritious staple possible.

Through the network we established to bring this important initiative to life, a whole host of public and private figures, each of whom play a fundamental and irreplaceable part, are involved in each step of this process. Once the fish is seized by the Coast Guard, it is preserved in refrigerated units made available by MASS in Catania. Afterwards, the necessary health-and-hygiene checks are carried out by veterinary specialists from the Dipartimento di Prevenzione Veterinaria and chemical and physical, microbiological, biomolecular and parasitic evaluations are carried out by the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Sicilia in order to ascertain that it is suitable for human consumption.

This is the stage at which Banco Alimentare gets involved, arranging the distribution of small fish to charitable organisations in Sicily, which provide assistance and food to people, and transportation of larger fish to local cooperatives or corporate locations where subsequent processing is carried out. Finally, portions of frozen fish are collected and distributed to charitable organisations in Sicily and Calabria.

With the RE-fished project, a portion of fish equal to 150 grams in weight (according to standards set by Crea, the Italian public body responsible for drawing up healthy-eating guidelines) complements a meal given to people in need by charitable organisations affiliated with the Banco Alimentare Network. In closing, the benefits of this project are very significant indeed: the fish allows for a more varied diet, which is good for the health of those eating it; it establishes a new food-recovery model that can be extended to other coastal regions; it reduces food waist; it supports local economies; it complies fully with the law; the health of consumers is protected; and it helps protect the environment too.

This project is carried out in line with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's). For more details, see the Sustainability section.

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