USDA launches app with food storage info - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

USDA launches app with food storage info

Posted: Updated:
A screenshot of USDA's Foodkeeper app. A screenshot of USDA's Foodkeeper app.
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 21 percent of the available food in the nation goes uneaten by consumers.

The agency unveiled a new tool Thursday in its efforts to reduce the amount of food waste in landfills.

Foodkeeper, a free app for smartphones and tablets, offers users detailed information about how to properly store food and when it is likely to spoil.

Kootenai County Solid Waste Department Principal Planner Laureen Chaffin said food scraps account for 26 percent of the waste received at the county's two landfills. Having that organic material is a positive, she said, because it allows the department to produce more methane gas, which is used to generate electricity.

"But I also recognize that part of our goal is to save as much air space as we possibly can in the landfill so it has a longer life," Chaffin added. "So I'm pleased to see that the federal government is doing something that gives the consumer a little bit better way of planning ahead."

The app offers Android and Apple device users storage timelines for more than 400 food items, and cooking tips for meat, poultry, seafood and egg products.

Consumers can also use the Foodkeeper app to track the freshness of foods in their pantries and refrigerators. Calendar integration allows users to enter the purchase dates for products and offers notifications when products are nearing the end of their recommended storage timelines.

The development and launch of the Foodkeeper app is part of the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, a campaign launched in 2013 by the USDA and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The challenge calls for organizations and individuals throughout the food chain - including farms, food manufacturers, grocers and restaurants - to reduce food waste through better purchasing, storage and inventory processes. The effort works to connect potential food donors with food banks and recycle food waste to create compost and other agricultural products.

Carolyn Shewfelt, manager of the Community Action Partnership food bank in Coeur d'Alene, said her organization relies heavily on what they call their "grocery rescue program."

"It's most of our food that comes in, and goes right out the door," Shewfelt said.

Food bank personnel visit local grocers, she said, and pick up foods the businesses cannot sell - perishable items that are safely edible but past their "sell-by" dates or have been "rotated out" with fresher items.

Most stores in the area donate bread items, she said.

A few donate meats, but there are two local grocery stores that don't because of corporate policies. Shewfelt would not name the stores.

"The local managers are really frustrated. It's not that they don't want to donate the meats ... some of them actually throw it into the garbage," Shewfelt said.

The quality of the items the food bank picks up through the grocery rescue program is mainly good, Shewfelt said.

A strawberry or blueberry might have some mold on it, but that happens when consumers buy those items off the shelves at the store, she said.

"We do what everybody does. We just pick them out," Shewfelt said. "The stuff that is not good enough quality to give out, we put in bins for our pig farmers, so they can turn it into bacon."

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • What you should do if you have the flu

    What you should do if you have the flu

    Thursday, January 18 2018 1:36 AM EST2018-01-18 06:36:55 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - The number of flu cases continue to rise. In Spokane County, more than 300 people have been hospitalized because of it and 14 of them have died. So how do you know you have the flu? KHQ met with Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane County health officer. He says that the flu is a respiratory illness and if you have it, you’ll know it’s more than a cold. “You have the body aches. Everything hurts. I’ve had people tell me their eyes hurt, their hair hu...

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - The number of flu cases continue to rise. In Spokane County, more than 300 people have been hospitalized because of it and 14 of them have died. So how do you know you have the flu? KHQ met with Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane County health officer. He says that the flu is a respiratory illness and if you have it, you’ll know it’s more than a cold. “You have the body aches. Everything hurts. I’ve had people tell me their eyes hurt, their hair hu...

    >>
  • WATCH: Oregon fisherman sues after insane boat crash caught on camera

    WATCH: Oregon fisherman sues after insane boat crash caught on camera

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 6:12 PM EST2018-01-17 23:12:55 GMT

    CLATSOP COUNTY, Ore. - A salmon fisherman who abandoned ship by leaping into the Columbia river last summer, right before another boat crashed into his, is suing the other boat driver for $372,000. The Oregonian reports that the Clatsop County sheriff's office accused Marlin Lee Larson of several crimes after the boater told investigators he couldn't see where he was driving because the dash of his boat was blocking his view when he was sitting down.

    >>

    CLATSOP COUNTY, Ore. - A salmon fisherman who abandoned ship by leaping into the Columbia river last summer, right before another boat crashed into his, is suing the other boat driver for $372,000. The Oregonian reports that the Clatsop County sheriff's office accused Marlin Lee Larson of several crimes after the boater told investigators he couldn't see where he was driving because the dash of his boat was blocking his view when he was sitting down.

    >>
  • Amazon announces 20 finalists for its second headquarters

    Amazon announces 20 finalists for its second headquarters

    Thursday, January 18 2018 10:06 AM EST2018-01-18 15:06:57 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - We didn't make the cut. But we knew that was coming, right?  Amazon released a "short" list of cities it's considering for its second headquarters and although we made a good case (IMO), Spokane did not make the cut.  So who did make the cut?  The 20 potential cities include...

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - We didn't make the cut. But we knew that was coming, right?  Amazon released a "short" list of cities it's considering for its second headquarters and although we made a good case (IMO), Spokane did not make the cut.  So who did make the cut?  The 20 potential cities include...

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • UPDATE: Yakima County Sheriff's Office finds missing woman with Alzheimer's safe

    UPDATE: Yakima County Sheriff's Office finds missing woman with Alzheimer's safe

    Friday, January 19 2018 12:40 AM EST2018-01-19 05:40:07 GMT

    YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. - Yakima County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help finding a woman missing since Tuesday. 69-year-old Linda Casey suffers from Alzheimer's and is believed to be in danger.  Casey is 5 ft, 115 lbs. She was last seen on 80 Buckeye Lane in Naches and is believed to be driving a 2014 silver Hyundai Sonata.  Anyone with information is asked to call Yakima County Sheriff's Office at (509) 574-2500. 

    >>

    YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. - Yakima County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help finding a woman missing since Tuesday. 69-year-old Linda Casey suffers from Alzheimer's and is believed to be in danger.  Casey is 5 ft, 115 lbs. She was last seen on 80 Buckeye Lane in Naches and is believed to be driving a 2014 silver Hyundai Sonata.  Anyone with information is asked to call Yakima County Sheriff's Office at (509) 574-2500. 

    >>
  • Suspect steals deputy's patrol car, crashes into nearby ditch

    Suspect steals deputy's patrol car, crashes into nearby ditch

    Friday, January 19 2018 12:34 AM EST2018-01-19 05:34:14 GMT
    NBC Right NowNBC Right Now

    HERMISTON, Ore. - Sheriff's deputies in Hermiston, Oregon arrested a man who they say stole a deputy's car during an arrest. At about 1:15 p.m., citizens on Cowboy Lane contacted police and reported that an unknown man was pounding on their doors in the area. Deputies went to the area and spotted the suspect, Christopher Phillips. After a brief foot chase, deputies caught Phillips and took him into custody. He is lodged in the Umatilla 

    >>

    HERMISTON, Ore. - Sheriff's deputies in Hermiston, Oregon arrested a man who they say stole a deputy's car during an arrest. At about 1:15 p.m., citizens on Cowboy Lane contacted police and reported that an unknown man was pounding on their doors in the area. Deputies went to the area and spotted the suspect, Christopher Phillips. After a brief foot chase, deputies caught Phillips and took him into custody. He is lodged in the Umatilla 

    >>
  • TV crew attempts to pass fake bomb through New Jersey airport security

    TV crew attempts to pass fake bomb through New Jersey airport security

    Thursday, January 18 2018 11:58 PM EST2018-01-19 04:58:45 GMT
    TSATSA

    NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say at least seven people who claimed to be working for a TV network were arrested at a New Jersey airport after they tried to film themselves passing a fake explosive device through a security checkpoint. Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein says it happened at Newark Liberty International Airport on Thursday. She says some members of the group attempted to bring the fake explosive device in a carry-on bag, but it was detec.

    >>

    NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say at least seven people who claimed to be working for a TV network were arrested at a New Jersey airport after they tried to film themselves passing a fake explosive device through a security checkpoint. Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein says it happened at Newark Liberty International Airport on Thursday. She says some members of the group attempted to bring the fake explosive device in a carry-on bag, but it was detec.

    >>