Academy Applauds New Legislation to Prevent Food Waste in Schools

01/16/2020 - The Academy commends Reps. Chellie Pingree (Maine), Dan Newhouse (Wash.) and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.) for the introduction of the bipartisan School Food Recovery Act (H.R. 5607), which will establish a new program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support schools' food waste reduction initiatives.

Grant activities include food waste measurement and reporting, prevention, education, and reduction projects, including purchasing equipment and providing training. Schools that partake in the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program are eligible to participate in this new program.

Food waste and sustainability is a key area of focus in the Academy's policy issues. As noted in a press release from Rep. Pingree's office announcing the new bill:

"A recent WWF report on school food waste found that national food waste in schools could amount to approximately 530,000 tons (excluding milk) per year, costing as much as $1.7 billion. The food wasted by American schools subsequently contributes an estimated 1.9 million metric tons of greenhouse gases into our environment, worsening the climate crisis. If food waste were reduced in schools nationwide by 3%, it is estimated that it would be the equivalent of taking 12,400 passenger vehicles off the road for one year."

Academy President Terri J. Raymond was quoted in the press release, stating: "Food waste is one of the most pressing challenges of our time and one that is solvable. Registered dietitian nutritionists support efforts to reduce food waste and promote consumption of healthful meals in schools. This legislation will help fund efforts to use cafeterias as classrooms to educate children from a very young age about positive behaviors that include eating healthfully and reducing waste. Teaching a generation of children how to actively support an environmentally sustainable lifestyle is a big step in addressing waste throughout the country's entire food supply."