Pingree said many people mistakenly think there is some sort of government standard for “best by” dates and that food must be discarded once the date has passed. She said, instead, it’s food manufacturers who recommend those dates knowing the food is safe to eat long after the label expiration date.
The bill targets food waste in four key areas: at the the consumer level; in grocery stores and restaurants; in schools and other institutions; and on the farm. Pingree says an estimated 40 percent of edible food goes to waste each year.
Wasted food costs us over $160 billion a year in this country. That works out to about $125 a month for a family of four. We can save money and feed more Americans if we reduce the amount of food that ends up getting sent to landfills.
The bill would also fund ad campaigns to educate consumers, offer tax credits to make it easier for farmers and retailers to donate “ugly” or non-standard products, and change procurement policies for school lunch programs to make those fruits and vegetables available for institutional use.
Earlier this year, the EPA and the USDA jointly announced the first national food waste reduction goal, aimed at cutting food loss in half by 2030. Federal officials say reducing food waste by 15 percent would provide enough food to feed 25 million people each year. It could also cut methane emissions:
Food loss and waste is the single largest component of disposed U.S. municipal solid waste, and accounts for a significant portion of U.S. methane emissions, which fuel climate change. This large volume of wasted food is a main contributor to the roughly 18 percent of total U.S. methane emissions that come from landfills.
The N.C. Cooperative Extension has a comprehensive list of tools for reducing food waste according to the EPA’s hierarchy of best options.
You can find out more here.