The Food Waste Issue Is Truly An Epidemic

Second-Day Meal Of Leftovers by Marcus Samuelsson

Food waste is an important topic to me - it is a rampant fact in American households today, but easily avoidable. Bruce Feiler of the New York Times agrees and questions the validity of following the stamped-on date: "The moment has come to restore the sniff test to its rightful place in the American household."

The food waste issue is truly an epidemic:

*Food waste has increased by 50% since 1970. *The waste accounts for about 1400 calories per person daily. *This tally possibly includes up to 40% of what is produced domestically.

A simple way reduce your leftover waste is to make an entree dish into appetizers or snacks. Transforming last night's dinner into tonight's hors d'oeuvres is much easier than it sounds.

*Appetizers are a fun way to begin a meal at home, whether for one or a whole family, and are always a great thing to bring to parties. However, it is essential to make sure your leftovers are still good to avoid making yourself and others sick.

*If you have leftover beef roast, you can slice it into thin pieces and cut them to cracker size. Take a slice of cheddar and sprinkle a bit of rosemary on top and you have a whole new dish!

*If you have leftover salmon, you can flake it into plain Greek yogurt or mayonnaise with some fresh chopped chives and salt to make a chip dip.

*Vegetable dishes can be made in to canapes by making little piles onto toasted baguette slices and a light sprinkling of extra virgin olive oil and Balsamic vinegar.

Surprisingly, most of the dates on all of the food you buy are not regulated by the FDA. As in food producers can virtually put down any date they want to encourage you to consume their products more quickly or, more commonly, throw them out before they are finished in order to make room for new ones.

Famous TV germophobes, such as Sesame Street's Bert or Friends' Monica, are potential targets to blame for consumer fear of spoiled foods, or maybe we should look to the rash of food-related poisoning and disease epidemics (though these are not related to mis-labeled foods, but their production methods). At the end of the day, the way you treat your food is a deeply personal choice, but keep in mind many foods in your fridge could have a second or third life on your plate!

To read more about what Bruce Feiler has to say, read the full New York Times article.