Provided by USDA FSIS
In the U.S., over one-third of all available food goes uneaten through loss or waste. This year’s Stop Food Waste Day is on April 28.
How Can You Reduce Food Waste?
Before food shopping, check your refrigerator and pantry, then plan meals using food that is about to go bad first. Buy appropriate quantities. Don’t buy in bulk unless you plan to use the food before it goes bad. When shopping, buy only what you know you’ll use and check expiration dates on food items. If there is no date, buy perishable products about one to two days before preparation or freeze until ready to use.
At home, store food properly to prevent spoilage. Check out the Cold Food Storage chart for guidelines to prevent foods from spoiling or becoming dangerous to eat. Make sure leftovers and cooked foods are chilled within two hours after cooking. Freeze leftovers for future use. Download and use the FoodKeeper app to help you use food while at peak quality or to know when to use the leftovers.
Often, skins on fruits, vegetables and chicken are peeled off and go to waste; don’t miss out on these nutrients—eat them! Use browning bananas in a smoothie or in banana bread. Compost spoiled fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds, bread and grain. This reduces the amount of food going into landfills and provides nutrient-rich soil for growing your own fruits and vegetables.
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Serviced Offers Solutions
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) helps address the problem of food waste through programs, policies and guidance that include tips for consumers and guidance on how to safely donate food to food banks, pantries, soup kitchens and shelters that help feed families in need. FSIS provides guidance on food product labeling to help reduce food waste by encouraging food manufacturers and retailers to use a “Best if Used By” date label. This approach would decrease confusion regarding labeling, thus reducing the disposal of food that is past the Quality Date but is otherwise safe to eat.
If you have questions, contact the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert. Or, chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.