Proposed Law Would Cut Back on Food Waste From Farm to Fridge

It has been nearly four years since the Natural Resources Defense Council published its landmark study on food waste in the United States. The exhaustive look at all the perfectly edible food that ends up in landfills—trashed on the farm or in the grocery store or left to rot in your fridge—found that 40 percent of what the country produces goes to waste.

That figure has been trotted out regularly in the years since, as the United Nations, the European Union, and finally, the United States have rolled out plans for reducing food waste, which causes a tremendous loss of natural resources the world over. The number was cited again on Monday when Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, announced at a press conference in Portland federal legislation aimed at reducing food waste throughout the economy.

"Wasted food costs us over $160 billion a year in this country," Pingree said in a statement. "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." 

While the draft legislation of the Food Recovery Act has yet to be made public, Pingree promises “nearly two dozen provisions to reduce food waste across the economy,” including efforts to reform how the sell-by dates printed on food packaging are determined. 

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