40% of US Food Wasted Each Year

by Christopher Paul on August 23, 2012

My wife and I try our best to buy locally sourced organic foods as often as we can. We do this for a lot of reasons including health and impact to the environment. We also tend to buy things as we need them; we don’t stock up unless it’s a dry good that we expect will last like beans, pasta, rice, and so on. Unfortunately we aren’t always the best at using everything we buy and sometimes it goes to waste. It’s not something we like to admit and try hard to avoid by planning out our meals but we haven’t been perfect at it. And it’s just as hard to hear we contribute to the 40% of food produced in the US that gets wasted anually.

”About 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. The average American consumer wastes 10 times as much food as someone in Southeast Asia — up 50 percent from Americans in the 1970s. Yet, 1 in 6 Americans doesn’t have enough to eat, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And food waste costs us about $165 billion a year and sucks up 25 percent of our freshwater supply.”

Don’t think the US is the only country to waste food. The UK does as well but they seem poised to help change that:

”The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says five million tonnes of edible food is discarded by UK households annually – the equivalent of £680 for a household with children.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said confusion over food labelling was responsible for an estimated £750m of the £12bn edible-food wastage each year.”

I’m all in favor of removing the ‘sell by’ dates on many foods – partially because we shouldn’t be buying food that’s processed and has a ‘shelf life’. We should be eating foods that naturally tell us when they aren’t safe to eat because, well, they went bad and we’re smart enough to know when a piece of fruit isn’t editable.

via Unlikely Words and NPR. h/t to The Kitchn

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