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, Assemblywoman Joann Downey has introduced legislation to teach consumers strategies for eliminating food waste. The bill cleared the Assembly Human Services committee 6-0 Thursday.
The bill (A4707) 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.
“Implementing strategies as simple as utilizing a grocery shopping list can help consumers 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 by,” and “sell by.”
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 now awaits further consideration from the Assembly.