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Congressional leaders combat food waste

Congressman Young joins Agriculture Secretary Perdue for a round table discussion on ways to reduce food waste. Photo Courtesy of David Young's Office

The amount of food wasted across the globe is staggering. Two Congressional leaders have taken it upon themselves to reduce food waste, particularly in the United States.

Congressman David Young (R-IA 3rd District) and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME 1st District) recently launched the House Food Waste Caucus to explore opportunities to reduce food waste. Congressman Young says the U.S. is “a country of great abundance.” However, Young recognizes the amount of food wasted across the nation.

“Most of us see this everyday – Where we haven’t quite eaten everything on our plate or we’re throwing something out of the refrigerator we never even got too,” Young said. “We wanted to make sure that we reduce that waste because we’re finding out that about 40% of food is lost somewhere along the food supply chain. There’s a lot of folks hungry out there, and if we can get that to them, all the better.”

A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study found United States consumers waste roughly one pound of food per person per day, racking up almost 90-billion pounds of waste annually, or 20-percent of the U.S. food supply. Congressman Young witnessed such waste during his visit at a Des Moines school.

“(I) was (at) a school breakfast and the bell rang to start class. Right away, kids started dumping their food in the trash. The food was an apple that hadn’t had a bite out of it, a full carton of milk or a banana that hadn’t been peeled. I was kind of horrified. Because of some interesting rules and regulations, that had to be done,” Young said.

Congressman Young says the Food Waste Caucus will examine rules and regulations, assess scalability and identify ways to minimize food waste across the food chain. The group will work closely with those on the ground, such as non-profits, restaurants, grocery stores, processing facilities and farmers.

“Working together, identifying a problem, identifying solutions and having that passion – we can really make a difference, reduce food waste and make sure people who are hungry can be fed,” Young said.

The Food Waste Caucus hopes to cut the amount of food waste in half by 2030.