Good morning…we hope it’s been a good week for you thus far. On the menu today: food date labeling legislation and a clever new ad campaign designed to reduce food waste.

We all know that we waste a lot of food in this nation. In a piece about what World War 1 poster art can teach us about food waste, I wrote:

Credit: Aysen Tan. Image from holdings of Museum of Ventura County.

“Food waste is both an ethical and environmental issue. It should concern us that we waste nearly 40% of the food we produce and purchase in this food-abundant nation. 

For an interesting comparative statistic, consider this: our nation produced nearly 40% of the fruits and vegetables we consumed on the American home front during World War II in school, home, community and workplace gardens.”

One of the major issues, of course, is that there is no standardization on “use by” date labeling. Data suggests that up to 90% of us throw out food that’s still good because of confusion over the expiration date. (I’m certainly guilty of this). So it’s a big step forward that a proposed federal Food Date Labeling Act has been introduced in both the House and the Senate. The bills are identical; the legislation was brought forward by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

Padma Nagappan reports for Civil Eats:

“The Food Date Labeling Act aims to standardize food date labeling, and simplify regulatory compliance. It seeks to require all food manufacturers to use just two standardized labels: “best if used by” to indicate quality, and “expires on” for safety. It also calls for consumer education to help Americans better understand date labels; the allowance of the sale or donation of food past its quality date; and cooperation between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in standardizing the labels.”

Read the full piece here; it contains good information about how the proposed legislation would work.

For more information about the issue, we went to the Union of Concerned Scientists Equation blog to read Let’s Talk Trash: Berry Good Progress on Food Waste, written by agroecologist Marcia DeLonge.

DeLonge not only discusses the proposed legislation, but also shares information about a recently launched food waste campaign – Save the Food – created by the Ad Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

She writes:

“…That is why I loved the fantastic new advertising campaign created by the Ad Council and NRDC that brilliantly tells the tale of food waste from the eyes of a berry. The ad, “The Extraordinary Life and Times of Strawberry | Save The Food”, even comes in different versions, depending on how much time and patience you’re willing to invest. Although of course the producers couldn’t be expected to fit the full story of food into 30-120 seconds, it’s impressive how effectively they have highlighted and hinted at so much of the problem in almost no time.”

It’s a #goodread with links to resources to help you dig deeper into the issue.

Here’s the PSA video:


Have a great day!