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Should food-related businesses be responsible for reducing food waste?

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While millions of Americans face food insecurity, the US Department of Agriculture estimates that thirty to forty percent of the food supply in America is wasted each year. Most of that food ends up in landfills, where it rots and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers, grocery stores, and restaurants are increasingly under pressure to combat the problem but so are consumers. Is food waste the result of bad business practices or is it more about picky eaters?





To Reduce Food Waste, FDA Urges ‘Best If Used By’ Date Labels


Grocery Stores Get Mostly Mediocre Scores On Their Food Waste Efforts


Additional resources to think about

How we fight food waste in the US
Visit the Feeding America website for infographics and a video about food waste and solutions. Roundup: Your Tips to Fight Food Waste
NPR’s Life Kit offers helpful strategies to reduce food waste in the home. Food Waste FAQs | USDA
This page from the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides information about food waste in the U.S., including the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Food Recovery Hierarchy.” The Big Waste | Food Network
Watch clips from the documentary special The Big Waste and explore how produce, meat, fish, dairy, and eggs are wasted and salvaged. Save The Food
Explore recipes, storage tips, meal planning, and other resources to help reduce food waste. How Rotting Vegetables Make Electricity | World Wide Waste
This video from Business Insider takes a look at the Bowenpally Market in India and how the market converts food past its prime into biogas energy.


Who created this message?

  • What kind of “text” is it?
  • How similar or different is it to others of the same genre?
  • What are the various elements (building blocks) that make up the whole?


What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

  • What do you notice (about the way the message is constructed)? 
  • What’s the emotional appeal?
  • What makes it seem “real?”
  • What’s the emotional appeal? Persuasive devices used?

How might different people understand this message differently from me?

  • How many other interpretations could there be?
  • How could we hear about them?
  • How can you explain the different responses?

What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?

  • What type of person is the reader/watcher/listener invited to identify with?
  • What ideas or perspectives are left out?
  • How would you find what’s missing?
  • What judgments or statements are made about how we treat other people?


Why is this message being sent?

  • What’s being sold in this message? What’s being told? 
  • Who is served by or  benefits from the message
    – the public?
    – private interests?
    – individuals?
    – institutions?
5 Key Questions of Media Literacy used with permission from the Center for Media Literacy.
Copyright 2002-2021, Center for Media Literacy,


Should food-related businesses be responsible for reducing food waste?

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