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U.S. Lawmakers Attempt to Tackle Food Waste

The Food Recovery Act aims to reduce the amount of edible food sent to landfills

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The battle over GMO labeling isn't the only food issue currently up for debate in Congress. A bill proposed Wednesday in the Senate aims to make a dent in America's massive food waste problem, reports the Huffington Post.

Sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), it's a companion bill to one proposed in the House of Representatives by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) late last year. The Food Recovery Act would establish programs to educate consumers about food waste, "improve cooperation between agricultural producers and emergency feeding organizations," and assist schools in using food from farms that would otherwise go to waste; it would also establish an Office of Food Recovery at the U.S. Department of Agriculture dedicated to measuring and reducing food waste.

Blumenthal and Pingree are also behind recently introduced legislation to standardize "sell by"/"use by"/"best by" expiration date labels on foods, with the aim of cutting back the amount of perfectly edible food that U.S. consumers throw out.

40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. each year goes uneaten, which is the equivalent of approximately $165 billion. According to a report by the National Resources Defense Council, "Reducing food losses by just 15 percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year."

When it comes to the mounting issue of food waste, the U.S. is lagging far behind some other nations such as France: In 2015, the French government made it illegal for grocery stores to throw out edible food (it must be donated to charity or turned into animal feed), and as of January 1, 2016, all restaurants are legally required to provide customers with doggy bags on request.