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Department of Agriculture highlights Pennsylvania food rescue, outlines steps to reduce food waste

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Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today highlighted the department’s efforts to reduce food waste and decrease stress on the food supply chain. He also outlined steps Pennsylvanians can take at home to reduce food waste and connect with organizations across the commonwealth working to recover food and distribute to those in need.

The department’s Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) program helps to support Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry in all 67 counties and reduce waste of agricultural surplus by making connections between production agriculture and the nonprofit sector. Some of the Pennsylvania food rescues that work to recover food before it goes to waste and distribute it to people and organizations in need include: Food Recovery Network Pennsylvania – with local chapters at Lafayette College, Lehigh University and Muhlenberg College; and Rolling Harvest Food Rescue – serving Bucks and Montgomery counties.

Operation BBQ Relief (OBR) is an effort to reduce commercial sized food waste in restaurants, harnessing the power of shuttered restaurants, available restaurant workers and commercial food products to produce family-style meals to support those in need. The commonwealth has partnered with the Salvation Army and OBR to distribute 4 million meals. Those needing assistance should contact their local Salvation Army Corps Center or Feeding Pennsylvania food bank for distribution information.

Pennsylvanians are encouraged to practice sustainable food management by donating untouched food that would have otherwise gone to waste to those who might not have a steady food supply. Below are some tips to reduce waste in the home:

• Keep a running list of meals your family enjoys and their ingredients;
 
• Make your shopping list based on how many meals you need and their ingredients;
 
• Include quantities on your shopping list to avoid over-buying;
 
• Be sure to check your fridge and pantry before shopping to avoid buying what you already have;
 
• Buy only what you need, buying in bulk only saves money if you can use it before it spoils;
 
• Check out tips for storing fruits and vegetables so that they stay fresh longer at https://extension.psu.edu/food-safety-and-quality/home-food-safety/food-preservation;
 
• Freeze, preserve, or can surplus fruits and vegetables;
 
• Freeze things like bread, sliced fruit, or meat you won’t be able to eat in time;
 
• Many fruits give off natural gases as they ripen, making nearby produce spoil faster – store bananas, apples, and tomatoes by themselves, store fruits and vegetables in different bins;
 
• Produce past its prime may still be good for cooking – consider making soups, casseroles, baked goods or smoothies;
 
 
• Watch how-to videos by PA Eats to find recipes to use up all of your ingredients and minimize food waste while cooking at https://www.paeats.com/videos/

For information on food security in Pennsylvania including information about resources and actions taken by the Wolf administration, visit agriculture.pa.gov/foodsecurity.

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