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Lawmakers eye ways to reduce food waste among restaurants, stores

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Lawmakers approved a series of measures aimed at reducing food waste amongst restaurants, farmers, grocery stores and other food retailers.

The bills were part of a package of measures approved at the Assembly Human Services Committee on Thursday, all aimed at reducing hunger statewide.

Assembly Bill 4705, which the committee approved in a 6-0 vote, would create a 12-member New Jersey Food Waste Task Force whose purpose would be to devise ways to reduce wasteful food consumption in the state 50 percent by 2030.

Another proposal, Assembly Joint Resolution 174, which the committee approved in a 6-0 vote, would urge retailers and consumers to find and adopt ways to reduce food waste.

Suggestions outlined in the legislation for retailers include lowering “unreasonably high cosmetic standards” for their products, urging food manufacturers to drop “best by” labels and establishing systems for donating surplus foods to charities.

To curb food waste among consumers, the resolution suggests retailers could provide food reduction tips and recipes to utilize leftovers and organize “waste less” campaigns.

“Letting food go to waste is a frivolous use of natural resources that drives up costs, inflates food prices, and weaken the food supply chain,” AJR-174 sponsors Assemblyman Pedro Mejia, D-32nd District and Assemblyman Daniel Benson, D-14th District said in a statement. “This especially in a world where many homes are not food secure.”

Another measure, Assembly Bill 4707, would require the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to develop a food waste public awareness campaign with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

“I cringe when I see food wasted. With more than 900,000 people in New Jersey alone facing food insecurity every day, to know that so much goes uneaten is heartbreaking,” reads a statement from A4707 sponsor Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker, D-28th District.

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz


Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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