In response to the disturbing U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) statistic that nearly 30-40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten, a bill introduced by Assemblywoman Joann Downey to teach consumers strategies for eliminating food waste cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee Monday.
The bill (A-4707) would mandate the Department of Agriculture to develop a food waste public awareness campaign with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, the state’s largest anti-hunger and anti-poverty organization. The campaign would educate the general public about the nearly 20 pounds of food the FDA estimates each consumer wastes monthly. According to the FDA, such waste costs the nation $165 billion each year.
“Through this bill, we want to educate consumers and help them realize that by taking steps as simple as using a grocery shopping list, they can reduce food waste,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “By using a list, consumers are less likely to purchase unwanted, unneeded food. This is often the food that is wasted.”
As part of the campaign, consumers would also be educated on proper meat storage as well as the correct meaning of common food shopping terms such as “expiration,” “use by,” “best buy,” and “sell buy.”
This campaign also coincides with federal food elimination objectives, with New Jersey having the specific goal of cutting food waste in half by 2030.
Other bill highlights include developing food waste informational material that would be distributed by social media, television, radio and print media.
The bill was introduced in October. It now awaits further consideration from the Assembly.