Food Safety and Waste at Food Recovery Locations
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Recent data estimates 30% or more of the overall food supply is discarded due to food safety-related issues of spoilage, damage, and expiration (USDA, 2015). At the same time, food insecurity poses an equally significant issue within the United States. There are limited research studies involving food safety and food waste at food recovery locations, particularly in Virginia. This project facilitated semi-structured interviews with five food recovery managers in multiple localities in Virginia on how decisions are made regarding food waste and safety within their facilities. The interviews revealed a need for on-going food safety education, as many food recovery locations struggle with the dilemma of short-term and one-time volunteers, and resources on how to combat food waste through additional redistribution and agricultural waste recovery. Future research should focus on the challenges specific to reducing food waste at food recovery locations in order to better meet the needs of this population.