In my podcast episode with Assemblymember Irwin, she mentioned that expiration date ambiguity accounts for 20% of all food waste. For many, this food waste is simply an afterthought that arises when your eyes are bigger than your stomach, but for others it is a much bigger issue.
Here are some facts about the issue according to United Way:
- 1 in 8 families in America are hungry
- 48% of college students in America are food insecure
- 15% of people in rural areas are hungry
- Food insecure people are more prone to obesity
- 60% of households led by older Americans must choose between buying groceries or paying utility bills
Every time you throw away food due to an expiration date, you have to go to the market and buy more food, decreasing the supply for everybody else. Moreover, the effects of food waste on climate change, which you can find in “20%: The Methane Epidemic,” indirectly triggers more food insecurity due to global warming’s negative impact on farms. And if you know that you are not going to finish food, bring it to a local food bank or homeless shelter. I encourage you to educate yourself on the meaning of specific food labels with my post entitled “‘Sell By’ Dates, Not What You Think,” so you are not unnecessarily throwing away good food. Helping get assembly bill 660 passed is another major way to reduce food insecurity. To help enact the bill, contact your local legislature and the Senate Agriculture Committee. These are just a few of dozens of ways to help food insecurity, and I urge you to spend a couple minutes to review them.
Photo Credit: Stephen Morrison/Africa Practice https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Africa_Food_Security_11_%2810665081134%29.jpg