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>>

  • Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner faces calls to resign after killing family of baboons

    Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner faces calls to resign after killing family of baboons

    Monday, October 15 2018 3:58 PM EDT2018-10-15 19:58:26 GMT

    BOISE, Idaho - An Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner is facing calls to resign after sharing photos of a recent hunting trip. The photos show Blake Fischer and his wife posing with animals they killed in Africa. Fischer took the trip to Africa with his wife last month and when he returned emailed the photos of the animals he killed to about 100 people, according to KBOI.  

    >>

    BOISE, Idaho - An Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner is facing calls to resign after sharing photos of a recent hunting trip. The photos show Blake Fischer and his wife posing with animals they killed in Africa. Fischer took the trip to Africa with his wife last month and when he returned emailed the photos of the animals he killed to about 100 people, according to KBOI.  

    >>
  • Hayden man shares story of Grizzly attack while bow hunting in Montana

    Hayden man shares story of Grizzly attack while bow hunting in Montana

    Sunday, October 14 2018 3:11 PM EDT2018-10-14 19:11:51 GMT
    Bob Legasa -  FacebookBob Legasa - Facebook

    BOZEMAN, Mont. - A Facebook post by Bob Legasa of Hayden, Idaho is going viral after he survived a grizzly attack while bow hunting in Montana. Legasa says in the post: "My hunting partner Greg Gibson and I surprised a Sow grizzly and her cub as we were moving in on some Elk. We walked up to with in 12 yards when we all saw each other And before I could even reach for my bear spray she was at full charge.

    >>

    BOZEMAN, Mont. - A Facebook post by Bob Legasa of Hayden, Idaho is going viral after he survived a grizzly attack while bow hunting in Montana. Legasa says in the post: "My hunting partner Greg Gibson and I surprised a Sow grizzly and her cub as we were moving in on some Elk. We walked up to with in 12 yards when we all saw each other And before I could even reach for my bear spray she was at full charge.

    >>
  • Woman pleads innocent to murder by reason of insanity

    Woman pleads innocent to murder by reason of insanity

    Sunday, October 14 2018 7:05 PM EDT2018-10-14 23:05:39 GMT
    Luke HollisterLuke Hollister

    COLFAX, Wash. (AP) - A woman accused of fatally shooting a Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, man in Colfax, Washington, has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity. The Spokesman-Review reports Ashley Myers entered the plea to second-degree murder Friday in Whitman County Superior Court.    Insanity pleas allow for the defense to argue for a potential commitment to a psychiatric facility instead of prison. 

    >>

    COLFAX, Wash. (AP) - A woman accused of fatally shooting a Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, man in Colfax, Washington, has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity. The Spokesman-Review reports Ashley Myers entered the plea to second-degree murder Friday in Whitman County Superior Court.    Insanity pleas allow for the defense to argue for a potential commitment to a psychiatric facility instead of prison. 

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

  • Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner faces calls to resign after killing family of baboons

    Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner faces calls to resign after killing family of baboons

    Monday, October 15 2018 3:58 PM EDT2018-10-15 19:58:26 GMT

    BOISE, Idaho - An Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner is facing calls to resign after sharing photos of a recent hunting trip. The photos show Blake Fischer and his wife posing with animals they killed in Africa. Fischer took the trip to Africa with his wife last month and when he returned emailed the photos of the animals he killed to about 100 people, according to KBOI.  

    >>

    BOISE, Idaho - An Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner is facing calls to resign after sharing photos of a recent hunting trip. The photos show Blake Fischer and his wife posing with animals they killed in Africa. Fischer took the trip to Africa with his wife last month and when he returned emailed the photos of the animals he killed to about 100 people, according to KBOI.  

    >>
  • Website based out of University of Washington lists names of men accused of sex assault

    Website based out of University of Washington lists names of men accused of sex assault

    Monday, October 15 2018 3:36 PM EDT2018-10-15 19:36:01 GMT

    SEATTLE, Wash. - A group of anonymous University of Washington students have launched a website that is courting controversy. The site, Makethemscared.com, publishes the names of individuals, all men so far, both at UW and outside of the school who have been accused of rape, sexual assault, harassment and abuse. 

    >>

    SEATTLE, Wash. - A group of anonymous University of Washington students have launched a website that is courting controversy. The site, Makethemscared.com, publishes the names of individuals, all men so far, both at UW and outside of the school who have been accused of rape, sexual assault, harassment and abuse. 

    >>
  • Warren DNA analysis points to Native American heritage; Trump denies offering $1M for test

    Warren DNA analysis points to Native American heritage; Trump denies offering $1M for test

    Monday, October 15 2018 12:46 PM EDT2018-10-15 16:46:51 GMT

    BOSTON - President Donald Trump is falsely denying that he offered $1 million for Sen. Elizabeth Warren to take a DNA test to prove whether she had Native American ancestors. Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, is a widely rumored 2020 presidential candidate.

    >>

    BOSTON - President Donald Trump is falsely denying that he offered $1 million for Sen. Elizabeth Warren to take a DNA test to prove whether she had Native American ancestors. Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, is a widely rumored 2020 presidential candidate.

    >>