The City of Ventura’s Food Waste Prevention Challenge Enters’ its 4th week!
- Did you know that 40% of all food grown and produced in the U.S. goes uneaten? Meanwhile, 1 in 6 Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables?
- Or that the average American family of four will toss $1600 worth of groceries away every year?
- 25% of all fresh water consumed is used each year to produce food that is ultimately wasted?
Food waste can be curbed, if not prevented, and the City of Ventura Environmental Sustainability Division, with its “Buy It, Eat It, Don’t Waste It!” Food Waste Prevention Challenge is aimed at educating residents on how they can stop the waste.
The Challenge, which kicked off May 18, follows 70 area families who have agreed to measure their household food waste and work to implement strategies to shop smarter, ensure wise food storage practices, and get creative with their cooking all with the aim to ensure less food waste. The first four weeks of the challenge have been spent establishing a personal baseline for food waste tracking (both inedible and preventable).
Beginning June 15, families will start implementing many of the following food waste prevention tips:
•Shop your fridge and cupboards first to avoid buying foods you already have.
•Make a list of what you need and check it twice. Create your shopping list based on how many meals you expect to eat at home before your next shopping trip. Include quantities you’ll need to avoid over buying.
•To reduce food waste and ensure you’re eating the freshest food, purchase fresh ingredients in small quantities. This reduces food waste and ensures you’re eating the freshest ingredients.
•Buying in bulk is only advantageous if you are able to use ALL the food before it spoils.
•Remember: Impulse buying can mean food waste!
•Choose loose fruit and veggies over pre-packaged to control quantities you’ll need and to ensure freshness.
•Keep a running list of meals your family enjoys for easier food selection and preparation.
Food Shopping and Preparation
•After you shop, take the time to wash, dry, chop, dice, slice, and place your fresh food items in clear storage containers for snacks and easy cooking.
•Prepare perishable foods soon after purchase to save on food waste. If you’re not going to use something right away, prepare and/or cook items (like bread, sliced fruit or meat, chicken breasts, beef, etc.) and freeze them for use later consumption.
Taking the Mystery out of Food Dates
Expiration dates on food, such as: “sell by,” “use by,” “freeze by,” are terms that are about the food’s freshness, not its safety. Here’s a rundown of what they really mean!
“Best if used by” or “Best by” date
These tags are the manufacturer’s estimate of a date after which the food will no longer be at its highest quality.
“Use by” date
Typically a manufacturer’s estimate of the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality.
“Freeze by” Date
This tag represents a guide for consumers to know when to freeze a product. This date is often used in conjunction with another date, in case the consumer chooses not to freeze the product.
“Sell by” Date
The manufacturer’s suggestion for when the grocery store should no longer sell the product. This information helps stores with their stock rotation. The “sell by” date is often misinterpreted to mean a product is unsafe to eat, but in fact, “sell by” dates are typically designed as a way for the manufacturer to ensure the product will be in good quality for a reasonable amount of time after it is purchased.
The pack date refers to the date on which the food was manufactured or placed in final packaging.
Developed by the USDA, this App offers valuable storage advice about more than 400 food and beverage items.
Smart Shopping Video, CLICK HERE TO WATCH
For more information, visit: http://cityofventura.net/foodwaste
–Maryann Ridini Spencer for SustainableVentura.TV