Food is a precious commodity considering that Millions of humans are malnourished. In Africa, thousands remain at the risk of constant famine. However, in developed countries such as the United States, food goes to waste just because Federal law is too weak to address the issue. It also means that landfills in the United States are full of food that is safe to consume, only because consumers aren’t aware of the safety standards. Therefore, prominent Nutrition Experts such as Emily Broad is convinced that United States need to change its laws to save food that is wasted due to lack of consumer awareness.
Writing for New York Times, Emily insisted that the most common culprit are expiration dates on food labels. Almost every consumer in the United States throws away food after the expiry date. Unknown to these consumers, the expiry date just tells us that the food is not fresh anymore. It does not state that the food is not safe to consume after the expiry date. This misinformation prevents consumers to use the food. In fact, many consumers are also reluctant to donate it because it is a common misconception that the expired label indicates stale food items. Even more interesting is the fact that different U.S. states have different laws regarding food expiry.
Similarly, the Federal government is also responsible for simplifying the laws pertaining to food donation. Recent studies on food safety indicates that businesses are not using tax incentives for food donation because they are not sure about the application of the law. Hence, Millions of tons of precious food is wasted just because businesses are reluctant to donate it to charities.
On a positive side, many States have enacted laws pertaining to the wastage of food. For instance, Vermont has limited the amount of food that can be dumped in landfills. Every county has strict instructions to enforce the law. As a result, Vermont has seen an amazing 60 percent uptick in food donations by businesses and consumers. The law is powerful in the sense that consumers and businesses are forced to donate the food, if it is in safe condition to consume. Overall, clarifying key terms, broadening the protections and creating guidance that soothes businesses concerns should be the top priority of USDA and U.S. lawmakers.