America Has A Major Food Waste Problem
The National Resource Defense Council estimates that about 40 percent of all food in the United States goes uneaten; that's about 20 pounds of food wasted per person each month. The next two editions of The Food Journal will examine the reasons why this occurs and will review the various programs trying to remedy it.
“According to studies, the consumer is responsible for more than 44 percent of the food waste in this country as they buy more food than they need or can be used before the expiration date,” says Phil Lempert, editor in chief of The Food Journal. “Food companies and retailers must come together as an industry to educate consumers and determine how to minimize food waste including how to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.”
Expiration labels are determined by the manufacturer, but at a retail level each store forms its own policy. There is no uniform or universally accepted system used for food dating in the United States. Although dating of some foods is required by more than 20 states, there are areas of the country where the food supply has some type of open date and other areas where almost no food is dated. According to Lempert, the question is whether consumers are willing to purchase such "expired" products at full or reduced prices.
Industry and government programs are under way to attack the problem as defined by the EPA's Food Waste Recovery Hierarchy that includes first reducing the waste, then feeding people, animals, industrial uses, composting, and landfill/incineration.
The Food Journal is a unique and in-depth e-newsletter providing bi-monthly unbiased analysis and commentary. Each issue examines one timely topic as it relates to the food chain from soil to shelves. In addition, each issue contains dozens of links within the body of its copy to provide comprehensive information about the particular subject. As a result, The Food Journal also functions as an annotated bibliography on a specific topic. For more information or to subscribe, please visit the website at http://www.thefoodjournal.com/signup/.