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Pingree: Clearing Up Confusion About Food Labeling Could Cut Waste

Nick Saltmarsh
Flickr/Creative Commons

Maine 1st District U.S. House Rep. Chellie Pingree is looking to codify how food is labeled with "Best If Used By" dates.  This month Pingree introduced legislation to standardize food date labels and cut food waste. The bill aims to end consumer confusion around food date labeling.  Studies show that confusion around food labeling results in edible food winding up in landfills, despite the fact that so many people are food insecure.

“Everybody’s grandmother taught them not to waste food, so it’s not that controversial," Pingree said at an event in Maine Monday. "But executing it, and figuring out how to go about doing it requires a lot of change. “

The bill is similar to one Pingree introduced in 2015.

Pingree met with more than ten groups interested in reducing food waste Monday at a brief event held at Hannaford Supermarkets' corporate headquarters in Scarborough.


In addition to Hannaford, participants included foodbanks, biofuel companies, composting groups and gleaning organizations. Joining them were the deputy commissioner of the food and Drug Administration and the director of the Maine Farm Bureau.

Pingree said that by standardizing how dates are applied to food packaging, people will be less likely to throw out good food.

"It’s got great bipartisan support in Congress," she said. "It’s one of those issues where we work well with industry, we work well across the aisle.”

The groups discussed the need for public education and greater infrastructure. Potential collaborations have yet to be made public.