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America Wastes About HALF The Food That It Produces While Hunger Runs Rampant Around The Globe

by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:

Is the United States the most wasteful nation on the entire planet? We are all certainly guilty of wasting food. Whether it is that little bit that you don’t want to eat at the end of a meal, or that produce that you forgot about in the back of the refrigerator that went moldy, the truth is that we could all do better at making sure that good food does not get wasted. It can be tempting to think that wasting food is not a big deal because we have so much of it, but an increasing number of people around the world are really hurting these days. In fact, it has been estimated that there are more than a billion hungry people around the globe right now. So as a society we need to figure out how to waste a whole lot less food and how to get it into the mouths of those that really need it.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, close to a third of all food in the United States gets wasted after it gets to the store. This is commonly referred to as “downstream” waste. When you add all of this “downstream” waste up, it comes to a grand total of 133 billion pounds of food each year

Nearly a third of the 430 billion pounds of food produced for Americans to eat is wasted, a potential catastrophe for landfills and a wake-up call to officials scrambling to feed the hungry, according to a stunning new report from the Department of Agriculture.

The just-issued report revealed that in 2010, 31 percent, or 133 billion pounds, of food produced for Americans to eat was wasted, either molded or improperly cooked, suffered “natural shrinkage” due to moisture loss, or because people became disinterested in what they purchased.

How many people do you think we could feed with 133 billion pounds of food?

But that isn’t all of the food that we waste. In addition to “downstream” waste, we also have to add “upstream” waste to the equation. Massive amounts of food are wasted each year because American consumers don’t want to eat fruits and vegetables that are “imperfect”. The following comes from the Guardian

Americans throw away almost as much food as they eat because of a “cult of perfection”, deepening hunger and poverty, and inflicting a heavy toll on the environment.

Vast quantities of fresh produce grown in the US are left in the field to rot, fed to livestock or hauled directly from the field to landfill, because of unrealistic and unyielding cosmetic standards, according to official data and interviews with dozens of farmers, packers, truckers, researchers, campaigners and government officials.

And I know that as a consumer I am guilty of this. Just yesterday, I was picking through the apricots at the grocery store looking for the prettiest ones that I could find. Of course they were all good to eat, but most of us are in the habit of wanting produce that looks as “perfect” as possible.

As a result, a lot of perfectly good food that may look a little ratty ends of being wasted

“Sunburnt” or darker-hued cauliflower was ploughed over in the field. Table grapes that did not conform to a wedge shape were dumped. Entire crates of pre-cut orange wedges were directed to landfill. In June, Kirschenman wound up feeding a significant share of his watermelon crop to cows.

As the Guardian article quoted above noted, when you add “downstream” waste and “upstream” waste together, we end up wasting about half our food.

This is tragic, because there are a whole lot of people in our own country that could use this food. According to one estimate, there are 49 million Americans dealing with food insecurity. But if we didn’t waste nearly half our food, we could likely feed just about everyone sufficiently.

Globally, about one-third of all food is wasted. That is better than the U.S. number, but it is still way too high.

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2 comments to America Wastes About HALF The Food That It Produces While Hunger Runs Rampant Around The Globe

  • delllat

    NY Dept. of Sanitation and NY Police N!99@ killer Dept. at it’s best wasting good food.

  • Steelerdude

    just moved to Texas 2 weeks ago, my wife and I went to Tom Thumb supermarket by us….and then revisited it again in a few days, and then again….it was dead as hell….I looked at her and said, what the hell is going on here? what, you got maybe 7 or 8 customers in the whole store….damn,
    the prices are good, but look at the product that will expire….she said “you know your right….wow…this is a tragedy”

    I cant figure it out…..being from So Cal, hell, you need to be rude to grab product off the self….definitely not here in Texas….

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