(Colby Ware/special to The Baltimore Sun / July 29, 2012) Also By Hugo Martin September 22, 2013, 10:00 a.m. The food truck craze that has swept the nation will soon roll up to Los Angeles International Airport. No, airport security wont allow food trucks to pull to the curb of the terminal. Instead, an airport concession operator plans to install the shell of a food truck inside of Terminal 4. The fake truck will be outfitted inside with grills, pots, pans and other equipment to serve food. Starting Nov. 1, the food truck will be operated by food truck chefs based in Los Angeles, who will rotate in once a year or so. This is our way to help bring people with local talent to offer their food at the airport, said Rich Bennett, senior director of operations for HMSHost, a concession operator at Los Angeles International Airport. Meanwhile, Long Beach Airport is one of a handful of airports across the country that has allowed food trucks to park at its cellphone parking lots to dish out chow to drivers waiting to pick up friends and family members. The weekly food truck program, called Truckn Tuesdays, was originally a summer event held the third Tuesday of each month. But it has become so popular that the airport plans to continue it indefinitely. Passengers, employees and those waiting in the area are enjoying it, said airport spokeswoman Kerry Gerot. ALSO:
Food ‘expiration dates’ are often meaningless
EDT September 23, 2013 A girl pays for her mother’s groceries using Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) tokens, more commonly known as food stamps, at the GrowNYC Greenmarket in Union Square on Sept. 18, 2013, in New York City. (Photo: Andrew Burton, Getty Images) SHARE 213 CONNECT 41 TWEET 46 COMMENTEMAILMORE Some states are already embracing deep cuts to the food stamp program similar to those passed by House Republicans in Washington, ending the food subsidy for tens of thousands of low-income Americans regardless of what Congress does. Spurred by the ballooning cost of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the GOP-dominated House voted Thursday 217-210 to cut $39 billion in the food assistance program over 10 years. Among the changes: Ending waivers for states that during the recession allowed as many as 4 million people to collect food stamps who otherwise would not have qualified. SNAP CHALLENGE: Panera CEO eating on $4.50 a day The fate of the congressional legislation is uncertain. The Senate approved much smaller reductions, and the White House threatened to veto any large cuts to food stamps. But in six statesDelaware, Kansas, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont and Wyomingsimilar reductions are already in place, or soon will be. Two more states will join them once their waivers expire, potentially taking away food stamps from tens of thousands of current recipients. Top 10 states 9,19 Source: June 2013 data, USDA Republicans blame the program’s ever-increasing rolls and cost on lax enrollment criteria rather than real need. Since before the recession, the price tag for food stamps has more than doubled, topping $82.5 billion in fiscal year 2013. Enrollment hit record highs, with 15 percent of Americans now collecting benefits. Many states have more than 20 percent of their population enrolled. Costs have continued to spike as well, as Washington pays for the benefits and states administer them. A new Congressional Research Service report released this month showed fiscal year 2012 was the 12th year in a row a new historical high was reached for federal food and nutrition programs, the vast majority of which is food stamps.
Not everyone knows that, however. According to The Washington Post, 91% of consumers toss food that’s past its “expiration” date at leastsome of the time — and 25% say they always do. This confusion is understandable, since no uniform system for dating food exists in the United States. In fact, there’s no federal requirement that comestibles be dated at all, except for baby food and formula. Dana Gunders, an NRDC scientist, told The Post that what we have is “an ineffective, ridiculous system that isn’t serving anyone.” “It costs manufacturers money,” Gunders says. “It costs consumers money. It leads us to throw food away unnecessarily.” ‘No industry agreement’ Labels you’re likely to see, and their general meanings, include: “Best by”: This relates to quality, e.g., canned applesauce that’s good until Aug. 2014 will probably taste fresher than applesauce dated “Dec. 2012.” Then again, you might not notice the difference. “Sell by”: This is an inventory issue, letting retailers know how long to display products. “Use by: Sometimes it’s exactly what it sounds like — if a package of pork chops says “use by Sept. 26,” then you need to use it or freeze it by then to avoid the possibility of spoilage. But sometimes the label on a shelf-stable item will say “best if used by,” which once again is a peak-quality issue. Confused yet? It gets better: According to The Post, “The meaning of those terms varies from product to product, and even among manufacturers of the same products, because there is no industry agreement on definitions and on which labels should be applied to which foods.” Personally, I err on the side of frugality.