New USDA App Tells You When Your Food Is Going to Go Bad

By Mike Pomranz |

© USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

The government has gotten into the food app game. No, this isn’t some NSA attempt to keep an eye on your pizza orders. Instead, the US Department of Agriculture is hoping a new app will help people reduce waste by providing quick access to information about food spoilage.

Available on both iOS and Android, FoodKeeper describes itself as being able to “help consumers use food while at peak quality and reduce waste.” The app provides storage advice for more than 400 food items as well as cooking tips and a portal to submit questions. It even offers calendar integration, allowing users to enter the dates they bought products and be notified when they are in danger of going bad (though First We Feast said this feature is “clunky and needs refinement”).

FoodKeeper—part of the USDA’s US Food Waste Challenge—was launched to coincide with today’s World Health Day. According to a statement, “USDA estimates that 21 percent of the available food in the US goes uneaten at the consumer level.” That equals about 36 pounds of food per person, per month, wasted at the retail and consumer level. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was quoted as saying he hopes this app “can help consumers save money and reduce the amount of safe food going to landfills.”

Unfortunately, just adding an app to your phone isn’t going to prevent you from wasting 36 pounds of food. But if you give it a try, hopefully it can at least eliminate the need to take a walk from the refrigerator to your computer to find out how long peanut butter lasts in the fridge.

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