Members of Congress may have thought they were being treated to a delicious meal by chef Tom Colicchio yesterday. But he was walking the halls of Congress for another reason. He was advocating for his food policy organization, Food Policy Action Education Fund (FPA-EF), in an effort to tackle America’s massive food waste problem .
Colicchio, along with other chefs and food waste advocates, were there to educate lawmakers on the impact of food waste and why reduction should be a national priority. The group is aiming for bipartisan solutions ahead of the 2018 Farm Bill.
“Food waste is a more than $200 billion dollar problem in America. It hurts the economy, our environment and our people,” Colicchio, the FPA-EF co-founder and “Top Chef” head judge, said in a statement. “As chefs, it’s in our best interest to make sure safe, edible product does not go unused. We are here to help Congress understand that it’s in our country’s best interest to do the same. I am happy that so many chefs and leading experts are here with me today to help drive positive, bipartisan change.”
Colicchio, and a group of chefs and food waste advocates, met with 22 Senate and House offices, delivering a petition with more than 4,000 chef and food advocate signatures asking Congress “to enact smart food waste reduction policies that will help create thousands of jobs, alleviate hunger and conserve energy and resources.”
According to FPA-EF, an alarming amount of food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten—about 40 percent.
“This waste and loss imposes burdensome costs on our environment, businesses, government and taxpayers,” says the group. The U.S. spends about 1.3 percent of its GDP on food that never gets eaten. Making matters worse, the group says one in seven Americans is food insecure.
“We need Congress to be part of the solution,” Colicchio said. “We applaud the House Agriculture Committee for leading the charge and working across the aisle to reduce food waste, which will reduce hunger, bolster the economy and help farmers. Reducing food waste today can make a huge positive difference for our food system tomorrow.”
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Image of Chef Tom Colicchio via ZagatBuzz