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People Are Starving, But Half of Edible Food in US is Thrown Away


Washington: In a world full of hunger, volatile food prices , and social unrest. Americans throw away almost as much food as they eat. The USA, organic waste is the second highest component of landfills, which are the largest source of methane emissions.

Nearly half of all the produce grown and processed in the US is never eaten. There are a variety of reasons for this, from “past date” food thrown out at supermarkets, to restaurant waste, to food rotting in storage.

According to official data huge quantity 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.

The most obvious problem with this waste is that while Americans are throwing out their food, an estimated one in every nine people in the world still suffers from chronic hunger that is, insufficient food.

About 60m tonnes of produce worth about $160bn (£119bn), is wasted by retailers and consumers every year – one third of all foodstuffs.

Wayde Kirschenman who grows potatoes and other vegetables near Bakersfield, California, since the 1930s said. “I would say at times there is 25% of the crop that is just thrown away or fed to cattle,” he added. “Sometimes it can be worse.”

“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.

One-fifth of all fruit and vegetables are consigned to the dump because they do not conform to the industry standard of perfection.

The Obama administration and the UN have pledged to halve avoidable food waste by 2030. Food producers, retail chains and campaign groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council have also vowed to reduce food loss in the ReFED initiative.

Shenggen Fan, the director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington said.“There are a lot of people who are hungry and malnourished, including in the US. My guess is probably 5-10% of the population are still hungry they still do not have enough to eat.”

Roger Gordon, who founded the Food Cowboy startup to rescue and re-route rejected produce. He said. “If you and I reduced fresh produce waste by 50% like [the US agriculture secretary] Vilsack wants us to do, then supermarkets would go from [a] 1.5% profit margin to 0.7%,” he said. “And if we were to lose 50% of consumer waste, then we would lose about $250bn in economic activity that would go away.”

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