Food policy expert says new labels should reduce food waste

Read the full story at Phys.org.

Pop quiz: What’s the difference between “best by,” “sell by” or “expires on”?

If you’re not sure, you aren’t alone. Americans toss out $165 billion worth of each year, often out of safety concerns fueled by confusion about the meaning of the more than 10 different date labels used on packages.

Grocery manufacturers and retailers are finally taking pity. Recently, the Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association announced they would voluntarily streamline date labels and begin using two standard phrases: “best if used by” for quality and “use by” for highly perishable items like meat, fish and cheese that can be dangerous to eat if they are too old.

Food manufacturers will begin phasing in the change now, with widespread adoption expected by summer 2018.

Food policy experts from across the University of California praised the new guidelines, calling them a positive step that could help consumers and the environment.

Minnesota’s JavaCycle turns coffee-bean waste into sweet-smelling fertilizer

Read the full story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The parent company of Hill Bros. Coffee and Chock Full O’Nuts has partnered with the tiny, Minnesota-based operation to convert millions of pounds of roasted coffee-bean waste into commercial fertilizer.

Stone Brews ‘Toilet’ Beer Made from Recycled Wastewater

Read the full story in Food & Wine.

Maybe it’s because people know alcohol kills germs. Or maybe it’s because people will drink a beer under any conditions. But beer has been at the forefront of convincing people that drinking recycled sewage water isn’t something to turn your nose up at — unless you’re trying to better appreciate the hoppy aroma. And last week, the Stone Brewery became one of the largest names to lend its support to the use of recycled wastewater.

​Turning food waste into tires

Read the full story from The Ohio State University.

Tomorrow’s tires could come from the farm as much as the factory.

Researchers at The Ohio State University have discovered that food waste can partially replace the petroleum-based filler that has been used in manufacturing tires for more than a century.

In tests, rubber made with the new fillers exceeds industrial standards for performance, which may ultimately open up new applications for rubber.

BIER Issues Results of 2016 Water and Energy Use Benchmarking Study

The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) released their 2016 Water and Energy Use Benchmarking Study, celebrating their ninth benchmarking report on key performance data within the industry. Findings of the study substantiate the beverage industry’s ongoing efforts to better understand and reduce resource use on a global scale. Nineteen companies participated in this study, providing valuable quantitative insight for nearly 1,500 facilities across six continents.

The 2016 benchmarking study includes water and energy data from 2011, 2013, and 2015, representing a diverse variety of facility types, production sizes, and geographic locations from around the globe. Of the facilities that provided all three years of data, 71% achieved an improvement in water use ratio and 64% achieved an improvement in energy use ratio. The study presents several key takeaways; for example, results show an increase in the use of renewable energy sources. This helps illustrate the proactive approach the beverage industry is taking to improve business practices, understand industry challenges, and lessen environmental impacts.

“The BIER benchmarking study continues to be a valuable resource for beverage industry leaders evaluating energy and water use within their companies,” says Laura Nelson, Consultant for Antea Group and BIER Benchmarking Project Manager. “The report shows continued dedication to transparency in the industry, making this comprehensive study an invaluable resource.”

Moving forward, BIER plans to work with member companies on carbon emissions data to improve the quality and depth of data collected for future benchmarking purposes.

The complete 2016 benchmarking results report can be downloaded at http://www.bieroundtable.com/benchmarking-coeu.

You’re about to see a big change to the sell-by dates on food

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The majority of Americans have no clear idea what “sell by” labels are trying to tell them. But after 40 years of letting us guess, the grocery industry has made moves to clear up the confusion.

On Wednesday, the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the two largest trade groups for the grocery industry, announced that they’ve adopted standardized, voluntary regulations to clear up what product date labels mean. Where manufacturers now use any of 10 separate label phrases, ranging from “expires on” to “better if used by,” they’ll now be encouraged to use only two: “Use By” and “Best if Used By.”

The former is a safety designation, meant to indicate when perishable foods are no longer good. “Best if Used By” is a quality descriptor — a subjective guess of when the manufacturer thinks the product should be consumed for peak flavor.