Chefs Are Taking the Fight Against Food Waste to Congress

© Larry French / Getty Images for Food Policy Act
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Tom Colicchio is pressing the government to prevent perfectly good food from being tossed.

Celebrity chefs are now advocating on Capitol Hill to fight food waste. On Wednesday, The House Agriculture Committee, which deals with everything from food stamps to farm subsidies, began its first hearing regarding the massive waste problem in America. And, The New York Times reports, chefs including Tom Colicchio will press congress on the issue.

Every year, around 70 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States, often due to mislabeling and confusion over inconsistent expiration dates. This results in $218 billion a year spent by businesses, farms, and consumers on growing, processing and transporting food that is never eaten, according to the Food Policy Action Education Fund.

Last fall, the Obama administration announced a goal to reduce food waste by 50 percent across the country by 2030. Representative Chellie Pingree of Maine recently introduced The Food Labeling Act, which aims to regulate food expiration labels in hopes of reducing waste.

Advocates hope the House Agriculture Committee hearing will result in more progress. "What we hope is to raise level of consciousness about how much food is being wasted along the chain," chef Tom Colicchio told the Times. The "Top Chef" host and Food & Wine Best New Chef has become one of the most outspoken voices in the waste-free movement.

Colicchio will be joined by other well-known chefs from around the country for the hearing, during which they will meet with lawmakers to testify for potential actions that can be taken to fix the waste problem. The chefs will also have a round-table discussion on the issue at the White House, and host a "recovered" food dinner at Pingree's home, which will feature dishes made from ingredients that might have otherwise gone wasted.

These chefs and anti-hunger groups alike are hoping these meetings will help find a way to prevent waste nationwide, so that the 70 billion pounds of discarded food could potentially go to people in need—rather than the garbage can.

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