The U.S. Department of Agriculture has adopted a new label intended to reduce the amount of food wasted by consumers.
Did you know? About 40% of the food in the United States goes to waste. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that approximately one-third of the food that is produce in the world for human consumption (about 1.3 billion tons) gets lost or is disposed of. This continues, despite the fact that 795 million people go to bed hungry each evening.
Obviously, food waste is a big conundrum which deserves to be remedied. However, until every individual and household starts recognizing food waste as the travesty it is and does something to remedy unsustainable habits, little will change. Fortunately, new guidelines by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) should hopefully help lessen the amount of food humans in the United States toss into the bin – especially if it’s still edible.
Last week, the USDA revealed new food labeling guidelines that are intended to help reduce food waste, reports CBS News. According to Sasha Stashwick with the National Resource Defense Council, 9 out of 10 shoppers are confused by the different dates on packages. Reportedly, consumers have difficulty differentiating between the labels that read “best by,” “use by” and “sell by”. In most cases, says Stashwick, the food is actually still edible. She explains:
“Typically those dates are just a manufacturers best guess on when food will be at its peak quality, they are really not an indicator about the safety of the food.”
Some foods, if stored properly, can last longer than their ‘used by’ date. She explained that milk can last at least a week past the printed date, and eggs can still be good three to five weeks after purchased. The issue is most consumers aren’t aware of this, which is why the average family throws away about $1,500 of food in one year that’s perfectly good to eat, according to Stashwick.
To solve this issue, the USDA will not use just one label: “best if used by”. Egg, meat, and dairy manufacturers are being urged to adopt the new label, as spoiled animal products can be far more dangerous for an individual to consume compared to over-ripe produce, such as avocados and bananas.
One activist who advocates for lessening food waste is Rob Greenfield. In numerous instances, the environmental advocate has dumpster dived and pulled perfectly edible and fresh food from the trash bins of supermarkets. In fact, in the video below he shows how a couple hours of dumpster diving allowed him to fill his pantry and fridge for free with perfectly nutritious food.
The world has a food waste problem, and it’s important activists like yourself help raise awareness about it. Please share this article and comment your thoughts below!
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