Spoiler Alert: USDA’s FoodKeeper App Helps Americans Avoid Wasting Good Food

May 7, 2015

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service FoodKeeper iOS app cooking info
Spoiler Alert: Every year, billions of pounds of good food go to waste in the U.S. because Americans are not sure if the food is spoiled. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that retailers and consumers waste 36 pounds of food per person each month.

The USDA’s FoodKeeper app helps Americans avoid this problem by offering users valuable storage advice about more than 400 food and beverage items, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood, and more. The app can also send notifications to remind users to consume items before they are likely to spoil.

The app lets users:

  • Find specific storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, depending on the nature of the product;
  • Get cooking tips for cooking methods of meat, poultry and seafood products;
  • Note in your devices’ calendar when products were purchased and receive notifications when they are nearing the end of their recommended storage date;
  • Search the application with swipe gestures or voice control; and,
  • Submit a question to USDA using the “Ask Karen” feature of the application. The ‘Ask Karen’ system provides information about preventing foodborne illness, safe food handling and storage, and safe preparation of meat, poultry, and egg products.

Storage times listed are intended as useful guidelines and are not hard-and-fast rules. Some foods may deteriorate more quickly, while others may last longer than the times suggested.

The FoodKeeper was originally a publication containing valuable advice to help consumers understand the shelf life of products when stored in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer. In 2015, USDA, Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute teamed up to turn the publication’s guidelines into an app.

The app is available for Android and iOS devices.

You can download this app and other cool mobile government apps with just a few clicks from our USA.gov Federal Mobile Apps Directory. Federal agencies can get their apps in the directory by using the Federal Mobile Products Registry.