Summary: H.R. 3444, the Food Recovery Act
Introduced by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Senator Richard Blumenthal, the Food Recovery Act is comprehensive legislation to reduce food waste on all levels.
Reduce wasted food at the consumer level
- Combat consumer confusion by clarifying that “sell-by” dates are manufacturers’ quality suggestions only, and require uniform labeling language.
- Sponsor a national campaign raising awareness on the impact of food waste and strategies to decrease wasted food at the household level.
Reduce wasted food on the farm, in grocery stores and restaurants
- Expand tax deductions for farmers, retailers, and restaurants that donate high-quality food to nonprofit retailers serving people who are food insecure.
- Strengthen the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which provides liability protection to businesses that donate wholesome food.
- Invest in storage and distribution programs to help food banks maximize their resources.
- Study barriers that prevent the donation of surplus food. Reduce wasted food in schools
- Encourage school cafeterias to purchase lower-price “ugly” fruits and vegetables.
- Expand grant programs to educate students about food waste and encourage food recovery.
- Strengthen connection between schools and farms to give both more resources to combat food waste.
Reduce wasted food throughout the federal government, including Congress and the military
- Create a Food Recovery Liaison at USDA to coordinate federal activities related to measuring and reducing food waste and implementing food recovery initiatives.
- Require companies that receive food service contracts with the federal government, including Congressional cafeterias, U.S. military bases, and federal prisons, to donate surplus food to organizations like food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens.
Reduce wasted food going to landfills
- Direct USDA to establish composting as a conservation practice eligible for support under USDA’s conservation programs.
- Support food waste-to-energy projects at the farm, municipal, and county levels, while ensuring that edible food that could feed hungry people is not being diverted to energy production.
- Create an infrastructure fund to support states in constructing large-scale composting and food waste-to-energy facilities.
Reduce wasted food through research
- Direct USDA to develop new technologies to increase shelf life of fresh food.
- Require USDA to establish a standard for how to estimate the amount of wasted food at the farm level.