Many foodservice operations incorporate donating excess edible food into their food waste strategy and overall mission to do good. The US EPA food recovery hierarchy, which has long been a guiding resource for prioritization of food waste solutions, positions feeding hungry people just below source reduction for preferred approaches to food waste. And it seems like it’s hard to argue with the inherent “good” that comes along with feeding hungry people, right?
Continuing the push for more food waste legislation, United States Congress Representatives Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and James P. McGovern (D-MA) introduced The Food Donation Act of 2017 (H.R. 952) earlier this month. The bill amends The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (the Emerson Act), which was passed in 1996 to encourage food donation by offering protection from liability to those who donate food in good faith.
The food waste movement has come a long way in recent years, moving definitively into the mainstream of sustainability conversations. Television hosts and celebrity chefs are talking about it, and businesses and governments are setting goals to reduce it. The EPA’s food recovery hierarchy is the long-time accepted standard for best practices in food waste reduction, with prevention firmly established at the top as the optimal solution. And though there are various techniques for prevention, daily measurement of waste is emerging as a standard of excellence for foodservice operations that want to prevent the maximum amount of food waste.
One of our core beliefs at LeanPath is that we manage what we measure. It’s at the heart of our mission of making food waste prevention easy: measurement leads to understanding which leads to prevention. When LeanPath was founded in 2004, the concept of measuring food waste was largely a foreign one in many kitchens—that’s why we’re especially excited that last month, the Food Loss & Waste Protocol launched the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting (FLW) Standard, a first-of-its-kind framework designed to help organizations, nations, regions and other entities around the world report on food loss and waste.
One of the drivers of food waste that we often highlight in LeanPath educational sessions is confusion around date labels. This can sometimes be the case in foodservice—where employees may be required to throw out products in bulk once they have reached a certain date—and often at home, where many consumers don't think twice about pouring a gallon of still-good milk down the drain if they see a date on it that has passed.