Food Waste In California

The Lempert Report
May 17, 2016

Proposed legislation would regulate the "sell-by" labels included on packaging.

And soon we can add food waste to the list. It is not what you think, its about new legislation that will set a trend of national standards and policies.  A new bill, titled  AB 2725, proposed by Assemblymember David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat, would set new standards for “sell-by” labels on food packaging. 

It’s an important move as most consumers are still confused by the inconsistencies on expiration labeling, no surprise as there is no current standards. The bill would mandate and set standards for: “Best if used by,” which would denote when quality of a product, not its safety, would deteriorate, and an “expires on” label for perishable foods. 

“This addresses the everyday experience that we all have, when we look at our refrigerator at dozens of products and have to decide if we should throw out products that may still be good but have different expiration labels,” Chiu told SF Gate.?  

According to a “road map” recently published by ReFED, Rethink Food Waste Through Economics and Data, funded by a coalition of nonprofit groups and foundations, laid out how the U.S. could reduce food waste by 20 percent over 10 years, and how confusion over labels leads consumers to throw out nearly $30 billion worth of food annually. 

Labeling reform, which is recommended both by the road map and in the bill Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree introduced in the House back in December, is considered one of the cheapest and most effective ways to reduce waste.   

The bill will give the California Department of Public Health the authority to establish the list of foods that will have “expires on” labels, which will include foods that could present a food-safety issue if consumed after the marked date.  We can only hope this spreads to every state and quickly can become the game changer in reducing food waste.