Expired: How date labels drive food waste and hunger

The most cost-effective solution to food waste is right under our noses. PIRG and Replate host food waste experts to discuss food date labeling.

Panelists speak on webinar,
Danielle Melgar | TPIN
Panelists speak on webinar, "Expired: How date labels drive food waste and hunger"

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Katie Marchini

Guest Contributor, COO, Replate

More than a third of all the food produced or imported in the United States goes to waste. Food waste is responsible for 4% of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions; equates to an enormous waste of water, land, fuel, and other resources that went into producing it; and costs the average American family upwards of $1,500 per year. All of that wasted food is valued at $444 billion, or about 2% of the U.S. GDP. What’s more, all of that surplus food is more than enough to feed every American experiencing hunger. Yet amidst this abundance, 1 in 8 Americans is food insecure.

A key driver of both food waste and hunger is confusion over date labels, which are not federally regulated in the United States. Instead, date labels are set based on a patchwork of state laws as well as policies unique to each company. This lack of standardization means consumers, businesses, and food banks are confronted with a confusing mix of phrases — “use by,” “best if used by,” “sell by,” “best before,” etc — and no real clarity on the question they’re really asking: is this food safe for me or others to eat?

The Food Date Labeling Act would change that by simplifying and standardizing date labels at the federal level. On Thursday, March 21, PIRG and Replate hosted food waste experts from Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, Food Recovery Network, and the Natural Resources Defense Council for a panel discussion of date labels’ limitations, the problems with the status quo, how the Food Date Labeling Act would address these problems, and why all of that matters.

Expired: How date labels drive food waste and hunger

PIRG and Replate host panelists from Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic, Food Recovery Network, and the Natural Resources Defense Council to discuss a common sense, bipartisan solution to food waste: simplifying and standardizing date labels.

Full transcript coming soon.

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Authors

Danielle Melgar

Food & Agriculture, Advocate, PIRG

Danielle works to ensure our food system produces enough nutritious food to feed everyone, without threatening our health, the planet, or the ability of future generations to grow food. Danielle lives in Chicago, where she enjoys staying active in the outdoors, trying out new recipes, and writing short stories.

Katie Marchini

Guest Contributor, COO, Replate

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