PhotoForty percent of all food in America is wasted, according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). When food goes to waste, so do our resources.

At some point or another, you’ve probably contributed to the issue of food waste -- but you might not have realized it. Experts say up to 90% of us misinterpret expiration date labels and throw food away prematurely.

Now, a new bill introduced today in the U.S. Senate and House aims to make expiration date labels a little clearer. The ultimate goal: to reduce food waste and save resources.

“Perfectly good food”

We’ve been taught to believe that a looming expiration date signals that food is about to become unsafe to eat. Often, however, that’s not the case.

“Contrary to popular belief, expiration date labels often don’t indicate whether food is still safe to eat,” said Dana Gunders, Senior Scientist at the NRDC in a statement. “As a result, we are tossing massive amounts of perfectly good food in the trash -- along with all of the water, climate pollution, and money it took to get it to our fridge.”

Gunders explains that the bill will help clarify the real meaning of the dates on food labels, while the companion bills would establish standard federal rules for the dates on food labels.

Save the Food campaign

The NRDC and Ad Council recently unveiled a new national public service campaign called Save The Food (video below). The campaign seeks to combat waste by showing consumers just how many resources go into a product before it reaches their home.

In a country where one in seven Americans is food insecure, we still tend to waste a substantial amount of food each year. It is estimated that we throw away $162 billion worth of food annually (about $1,500 worth per household).

Both the bill and the campaign seek to cut down on food waste by raising awareness of the issue and altering consumer's perceptions surrounding date labels.

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