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Social Issues
One Third of Food In The United States — About 141 Trillion Calories — Goes To Waste Every Year
March 1, 2014
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(Photo: Starr/Flickr)

New data from the United States Department of Agriculture suggests that almost one third of the total food supply in the US goes uneaten.

The USDA’s Economic Research Service reports that an estimated 133 billion pounds of food per year is lost in various stages of production, shipping, retail and consumption.

This also marks the first time that food losses have been represented in calories: Americans lose 141 trillion available calories per year to food loss, or roughly 1,250 calories per person per day (about two-and-a-half Big Macs'-worth).

The report echoes findings from a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization study we reported on last fall that found the world wastes $750 billion worth of food each year.

Food loss (the total amount of available food not consumed for any reason) and, more critically, food waste (otherwise edible items that are discarded for aesthetic reasons or thrown out after purchase) are increasingly emerging as important social and economic concerns in the worldwide fight against hunger.

Yesterday, the president of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim referred to the global record on food loss as “shameful,” saying "millions of people around the world go to bed hungry every night, and yet millions of tons of food end up in trash cans or spoiled on the way to market."

Similarly alarming statistics have been reported here in Canada, with Statistics Canada estimating that about 40 per cent of all the food produced in this country goes to waste — about $27 billion each year.

You can read the entire study on the USDA website.



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