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About the Petition
On Dec. 7, 2015, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree introduced a comprehensive bill to prevent and recover food waste from farm to fridge. The Food Recovery Act, if signed into law, would incentivize farmers to donate unsellable fruits and vegetables to food donation centers through tax breaks and educate the public to help people better understand sell-by labels and other expiration dates. Through four key areas—at the consumer level, on farms, in restaurants, and in schools and institutions—the bill would work to improve incentives for donation through Good Samaritan tax breaks, improve education on food waste through ad campaigns, and reform procurement policies.
Every year, roughly 133 billion pounds of food are wasted by stores, restaurants, and homes in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Furthermore, one in seven Americans is food insecure. “If we reduced the amount of food waste by 15 percent and redirected it, we could feed half of the people who are currently in need,” says Pingree. “Currently there are no federal laws regarding expiration dates. Manufacturers can go overboard with the dates they put on food—and it can lead to consumers and retailers throwing out perfectly good food.”
The Food Recovery Act would contribute to a recent commitment by the Obama administration to cut food waste in half by 2030 to feed the hungry and save natural resources. Individuals could also save money from preventing food waste; uneaten food in homes and restaurants was valued at almost $390 per consumer in 2008, exceeding average monthly food expenditures. To halve food waste, the USDA and the EPA are partnering with charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, the private sector, and local governments to streamline waste-reduction efforts.
“Wasted food is wasted money, wasted water, wasted land, and wasted energy,” says Dana Gunders, staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “America is taking solid action to keep more food on our plates.”
Sign the letter to tell your state representative to support the Food Recovery Act.
To: U.S. Representative
Now is the time to put an end to food waste in the United States. Food waste on farms, in retail, and at the consumer level is a waste of money for millions of Americans, and it’s critical that we reduce loss and waste at every stage of the food chain to save natural resources as well.
I urge you to vote yes on U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree’s Food Recovery Act (H.R. 4184), to feed the hungry and avoid the enormous costs of food waste. By improving tax breaks for food donations, reforming procurement policies at schools and institutions, and educating the public about this important issue, we can make better use of our limited natural resources and feed hungry Americans.
A 15 percent reduction in food waste could feed half of the nearly 50 million Americans who were food insecure in 2014. Furthermore, wasted food in homes and restaurants was valued at almost $390 per consumer in 2008, exceeding average monthly food expenditures. Reducing food waste is critical to helping working-class Americans.
This important bill is in line with the Obama administration’s goal to halve food waste by 2030, as well as the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The U.S. should be a global leader not only in agricultural production but also in creating an efficient global food system that minimizes unnecessary waste at all levels.
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