Developed by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute, this new application informs users on how to store food and beverages to maximize their freshness and quality. By helping users understand food storage, the application empowers consumers to choose storage methods that extend the shelf life of their items. Users will be able to keep items fresh longer than if they were not stored properly.
The FoodKeeper application offers users valuable storage advice about nearly 500 food and beverage items, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood, and more. Every year, billions of pounds of food go to waste in the U.S. because consumers are not sure of its quality or safety. USDA estimates that 21% of the available food in the U.S. goes uneaten at the consumer level. In total, 36 pounds of food per person is wasted each month at the retail and consumer levels.
“This application will help reduce food waste by showing users how to store foods properly, and reminding them to use items before they are likely to spoil,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This can help consumers save money and reduce the amount of safe food going to landfills.”
The application features include the following:
- Specific product pages for more than 400 items. These offer users storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry.
- Cooking tips for meat, poultry, seafood and egg products. Cooking advice is offered to ensure users prepare these products in ways that eliminate foodborne bacteria.
- Calendar integration, which allows users to enter the purchase date for products and offers notifications when products are nearing the end of their recommended storage date.
- Users can search the application with swipe gestures or voice control.
- If a user has not found the information they are looking for about a product, they can submit a question to USDA using the ‘Ask Karen’ feature of the application. ‘Ask Karen’ is USDA’s 24/7 virtual representative. The system provides information about preventing foodborne illness and safe food handling, storage, and preparation of meat, poultry, and egg products.
- The application is available for Android and Apple devices.
- Reduce food waste by improving product development, storage, shopping/ordering, marketing, labeling, and cooking methods;
- Recover food waste by connecting potential food donors to hunger relief organizations like food banks and pantries; and,
- Recycle food waste to feed animals or to create compost, bioenergy, and natural fertilizers.
View more and download at www.fmi.org/foodkeeperapp