How Is Tom Colicchio Changing the Way America Eats?

Hint: It's not just by being one of the most talented chefs and food judges ever.

Don't let the voluminous feasts Tom Colicchio judges on Top Chef fool you: The host and celebrity chef is super-passionate about not wasting food. Behind the scenes, Colicchio co-founded the three-year-old nonprofit group Food Policy Action to help promote a healthy food system in America, and his efforts are getting a big boost this week thanks to a potentially revolutionary new bill that just got introduced in Congress.

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced the Food Recovery Act on Monday to address the 133 billion pounds of food that are wasted in America every year: That's about 40% of all the food produced in the country, at an annual cost of approximately $161 billion. Pingree proposes sweeping solutions to the food-waste problem, including clarifying sell-by and expiration dates at grocery stores—so consumers don't throw out perfectly good food just because of misleading dates on the packaging. The legislation would also offer tax deductions to farmers and restaurants that donate high-quality food to soup kitchens and pantries, establish grant programs for schools to educate on food waste and recovery, and engage the USDA to study ways to reduce waste.

"Wasting food is bad for the economy, bad for the environment and bad for Americans who are struggling to afford healthy food to feed their families,” Colicchio said in a statement. “Congresswoman Pingree is a national leader on sustainable food and farming and I’m glad she’s taking on this huge issue of wasted food.”

Check out Food Policy Action’s National Food Policy Scorecard to see how legislators in your area are doing when it comes to standing up for a healthy and just food system.

Meanwhile, there’s something you can do right now to help in the fight against hunger: Top Chef will donate 50 meals to Great Nations Eat for each share of this Facebook page, part of the #TopChefSharesTheLove campaign.

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