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NewsBites December 2015 Issue

USDA Sets Goal to Reduce Food Waste

The US Department of Agriculture is declaring war on food waste, likening the effort to the anti-littering campaigns of the 1960s and 1970s. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a goal of cutting the amount of food Americans waste by 50% by 2030. Today, the USDA estimates, Americans waste 133 billion pounds of food annually, or 31% of the total food supply. Besides driving up consumers’ food costs and missing an opportunity to feed the hungry, much of that wasted food winds up in landfills, where it produces methane and contributes to greenhouse gases. The Environmental Protection Agency joined in the anti-waste announcement, as did the retail grocery industry’s Food Marketing Institute.

To help consumers decide whether food is still safe to eat, in April the USDA, Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute introduced an app called FoodKeeper. The free app offers storage advice about more than 400 food and beverage items, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce and seafood. It’s available at the app stores for Apple <itunes.apple.com/us/app/usda-foodkeeper/id978186100?mt=8> and Android <play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.usda.fsis.foodkeeper&hl=en>, and the data is also available online <www.foodsafety.gov/keep/foodkeeperapp>.

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