Congressman McGovern Praises Massachusetts Efforts to Tackle Food Waste, Calls for More Action at Every Level  

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Soup’s on! pic:R.T.

America Spends $218 Billion Every Year on Food That Is Never Eaten
 
Reducing Food Waste Is Key to Helping 50 million Americans Struggling with Hunger

Today Congressman Jim McGovern spoke on the House Floor to raise awareness about food waste in the U.S. and to praise efforts in Massachusetts and across the country to reduce food waste and help the 50 million Americans – including 16 million children – who struggle with hunger every year.  
 
“American consumers, businesses, and farms spend an estimated $218 billion per year growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten. Up to 40 percent of all food grown is never eaten,” Congressman McGovern said. “Forty to fifty million tons of food is sent to landfills each year, plus another 10 million tons is left unharvested on farms. This food waste translates into approximately 387 billion calories of food that went unconsumed.
 
“With 50 million Americans – including 16 million children –struggling with hunger every year, these are startling figures,” McGovern added. “We know food waste occurs throughout the supply chain – from harvesting to manufacturing to retail operations and consumer habits.  We must do more to reduce food waste at every stage, recover food that would have otherwise been wasted, and recycle unavoidable waste as animal feed, compost, or energy.
 
“Thankfully, there’s already a lot of great work being done to raise awareness about the problem of food waste,” McGovern concluded. “I’m pleased to see so many partners at every level of the food supply chain taking action to reduce food waste, but still, more needs to be done. Let’s solve the problem of food waste and let’s end hunger now.” 
 
In today’s speech today, Congressman McGovern recognized Massachusetts leaders and organizations like the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts for helping to reduce food waste as part of the larger push to tackle hunger. McGovern also thanked Becker College, College of the Holy Cross, Smith College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute for their work with the Campus Kitchen Project and the Food Recovery Network to provide hunger relief in their local communities through campus food recovery initiatives.
  
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Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Speech:
 

“Thousands of people will gather in Washington, D.C. this week for “Feeding the 5000” – an event designed to bring awareness to the issue of food waste. 
 
“Participants will be served a communal meal made entirely out of food that would otherwise have been discarded – in other words, wasted. 
 
“Since 2009, Feedback, a global environmental organization working to end food waste, has hosted dozens of “Feeding the 5000” events in cities across the globe. 
 
“I’m pleased to see so many local partners – including government agencies, charitable organizations, NGOs, industry, and chefs – joining together to call attention to food waste. 
 
“Because the truth of the matter is, we’ll need all of these partners working together to solve the issue of food waste.
 
“Last year, the USDA announced their first-ever food waste reduction goal, calling for a 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2030. USDA is working with charitable organizations, faith-based groups, and the private sector and I believe this goal is 100 percent achievable.
 
“American consumers, businesses, and farms spend an estimated $218 billion per year growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten. 
 
“Up to 40 percent of all food grown is never eaten.  Forty to fifty million tons of food is sent to landfills each year, plus another 10 million tons is left unharvested on farms. 
 
“This food waste translates into approximately 387 billion calories of food that went unconsumed.
 
“With 50 million Americans – including 16 million children –struggling with hunger every year, these are startling figures. 
 
“We know food waste occurs throughout the supply chain – from harvesting to manufacturing to retail operations and consumer habits.  We must do more to reduce food waste at every stage, recover food that would have otherwise been wasted, and recycle unavoidable waste as animal feed, compost, or energy.
 
“Thankfully, there’s already a lot of great work being done to raise awareness about the problem of food waste. 
 
“Just last week I attended a screening of the documentary film, Just Eat It at Amherst Cinema, organized by the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Just Eat It follows a couple, Jen and Grant, as they stop going to the grocery store and live solely off of foods that would have been thrown away. Jen and Grant were able to find an abundance of perfectly safe and healthy food available for consumption that would have been thrown away.
 
“It’s exciting to see new partnerships forming to study food waste and find ways to use this perfectly good food to reduce hunger in our communities. 
 
“One such private-public collaboration, ReFED, has brought together over 30 business, government, and NGO leaders committed to wide-scale solutions to U.S. food waste. 
 
“In March, 2016, ReFED released a Roadmap that charts the course for a 20 percent reduction of food waste within a decade. 
 
“The Roadmap calls for farmers to reduce unharvested food and create secondary markets for imperfect produce.  It calls on manufacturers to reduce inefficiencies, make packaging adjustments, and standardize date labeling.  It calls on food service companies to further implement waste tracking and incorporate imperfect produce and smaller plates into restaurants.  And it urges the federal government to strengthen tax incentives for food donation and consider standardized date labeling legislation.   
 
“The good news is that many in the industry are already taking steps to dramatically cut down on wasted food by implementing robust donation programs. 
 
“For example, Starbucks recently announced it will soon scale up its successful food donation pilot program nationwide. In partnership with the Food Donation Connection and Feeding America, Starbucks will donate unsold food from more than 7,000 company-operated stores –salads, sandwiches, and other refrigerated items – to the Feeding America food bank network. By 2021, that amounts to almost 50 million meals.
 
“Our college campuses are also stepping up. Both the Campus Kitchen Project and the Food Recovery Network work with college dining facilities and students to provide hunger relief in their local communities. In my congressional district, Becker College, College of the Holy Cross, Smith College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute all have campus food recovery initiatives.
 
“Over the past 35 years, Feeding America has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to ensuring food that would have otherwise been wasted makes its way to food banks across the country and into the homes of families in need. 
 
“There are dozens of other industry leaders also taking steps to reduce food waste by implementing manufacturing upgrades, maximizing harvests, and utilizing recycling initiatives.  
 
“I appreciate the efforts of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance in bringing together industry partners to reduce food waste, shrink the environmental footprint, and alleviate hunger in our communities. 
 
“Reducing food waste is one step we can take toward our goal of ending hunger in the United States and throughout the world. 
 
“I’m pleased to see so many partners at every level of the food supply chain taking action to reduce food waste, but still, more needs to be done. Let’s solve the problem of food waste and let’s end hunger now.”