The federal government should refuse to give a tax break to corporations that donate waste food to charity, says retired University of British Columbia social work professor Graham Riches.

The National Zero Waste Council — an organization whose membership includes local governments, businesses and non-profits — wants municipal governments to pass motions urging the Canadian government to create a tax incentive “for food producers, suppliers and retailers to donate unsold edible food.”

Riches, however, said a tax incentive for food donations would fix neither the problem with food waste nor the problem with hunger.

“It’s a solution to both problems that seems like a win-win to both sides, but it’s deceptively simple,” he said.

Surplus food is the result of overproduction, and helping companies financially when they produce too much is the wrong approach, he said.

“I can’t understand how that gives them an incentive to deal with the food waste, particularly if they’re receiving a benefit for it,” he said.

Nor is increased food charity what people who are hungry need, Riches said. “The people who are poor, what they really need is money in their pockets so they can go into a store and purchase food like anybody else.”