USDA ‘FoodKeeper’ App: A Smart Tool for Food Storage

USDA ‘FoodKeeper’ App: A Smart Tool for Food Storage

Aug 19, 2015

How annoying is it when we go to our refrigerator or pantry and find out that food we were hoping to consume has gone bad? The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, along with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute has come up with a great application to help avoid that problem.

According to the USDA, “Every year, billions of pounds of food go to waste in the U.S. because consumers are not sure of its quality or safety.” Also, estimates show that 21% of the available food in the U.S. goes uneaten at the consumer level and about 36 pounds of food per person is wasted each month at the retail and consumer level.

The FoodKeeper App was recently introduced as a new tool for smart food storage. This new app informs users how to properly store foods and beverages, ensuring their maximum quality and freshness.

The application is meant to show users how to store foods properly and will send them reminders to use the items before the probable spoilage date. This will help consumers save money and reduce the amount of good food being thrown out.

The following are some of the features of the app:

Product pages for over 400 items with storage timelines for pantry, refrigerator, and freezer

Cooking tips to ensure food is being prepared in a way to avoid foodborne bacteria

Integration with users’ calendar, allowing users to enter the purchase dates for all of the products that they purchase, and then receive alerts when these products are nearing the end of their recommended storage dates

Swipe gestures and voice control can be used to search for any items

Can submit a question via the app to “Ask Karen,” The USDA’s 24/7 virtual representative. “Ask Karen” provides information regarding proper food handling, storage, preparation, and preventing foodborne illness

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The application is actually part of a larger effort called the U.S. Food Waste challenge, which was launched in 2013 between the USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The main goals of the Food Waste Challenge is to appeal to everyone across the food chain (from farms, manufacturers, grocery stores, restaurants, schools, and governments) to combine their efforts to:

Reduce food waste through improved storage, marketing, labeling, and cooking methods

Recover food waste by linking food donors to organizations that feed homeless and hungry individuals, like food banks and food pantries

Re-using food waste, by recycling it to feed animals, create compost, and fertilizer.

Basically, by joining the Food Waste Challenge, businesses are demonstrating “their commitment to reducing food waste, helping to feed the hungry in their communities, and reducing the environmental impact of wasted food.”

The FoodKeeper App expands the reach of the Food Waste Challenge by educating consumers about the shelf life of products when stored in the pantry, refiregerator, or freezer, and thereby helping to reduce the amount of food that ends up in landfills.

The FoodKeeper App is available for iOS Apple and Android devices.

For more information on how E-Control Systems can assist you in your temperature monitoring needs, while your foods are being stored or during the cooking process, visit www.econtrolsystems.com.



Category: Food Service

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