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Page added on March 16, 2012

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Up to half of world’s food goes to waste

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Experts gathering this week at the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summitin Chicago said an estimated 30 to 50 percent of the food produced globally goes to waste.

Reuters reports that on average, Americans throw away about 33 pounds of food each month which adds up to $396 in lost groceries a year, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Food production also hurts the environment by taking the world’s water supply, emitting greenhouse gases and consumes a large amount of energy and chemicals.

As the world’s population rises so too does demand for food and pressure on farmers. By 2050, experts estimate the population will grow from an estimated 7 to 9 billion people.

A growing population means more demand and high food prices.

NRDC specialist Dana Gunders said that no matter how sustainable farming is, “If the food’s not getting eaten … it’s not a good use of our resources.”

Depending where you live, waste comes in different forms. For developing nations, food spoils more readily if it is not properly refrigerated. In wealthier Western countries, people often throw away good food.

In 2010 alone, 33 million tons of food ended up in landfills and incinerators across the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA have suggested some possible solutions including recycling unused food to shelters and soup kitchens, while clarifying the difference between “sell by” and “use by” dates. That could help some people from throwing away their produce too soon.

CBS



6 Comments on "Up to half of world’s food goes to waste"

  1. Anvil on Fri, 16th Mar 2012 5:27 am 

    So the USA is the whole world is it?

  2. BillT on Fri, 16th Mar 2012 9:39 am 

    Anvil, most American’s don’t know that there are 6,700,000,000 other people on this planet. Well, they may know, but they do not think about them as being important until they affect the price of gas or food or TVs. They are just out there making cheap stuff for consumers in the Us to buy and throw away.

    Americans waste huge amounts of food as anyone who has gone behind a restaurant and looked in the dumpster can tell you. Every time a food source changes from one form to another, some is lost/ wasted. Same for food markets, etc. Government health regulations say they have to throw away food that could otherwise be donated to shelters or even given away to the poor.

    When I lived in Philly, I got all of the fruits and veges I wanted from the dumpster behind a natural foods store. If it was blemished or bruised or just wilted, it was thrown away when they closed. It could have gone to feed pigs…if anyone had them… or goats or even people like me who hated to see it thrown away. I also got bread and other bakery items that had passed their dates but were perfectly ok.

    As for the statement about 3rd world waste. I live in the Philippines and believe me, little is wasted here. There is no edible part of anything that goes to waste. If you look in a dumpster behind a restaurant or grocery here, it will be full of trash, not food waste. Maybe there is some, but it would be the corporate food companies and not the average person.

    In Manila, at night, many go through trash bags along the street looking for edibles or something they can sell. Nothing goes to waste here. Nothing.

    Waste is a habit of spoiled Americans and not typical of the rest of the world.

  3. dsula on Fri, 16th Mar 2012 11:16 am 

    >> Waste is a habit of spoiled Americans and not typical of the rest of the world
    Waste is the habit of spoiled EVERYBODY, not Americans.

    I’m wondering, if going thru the trash in Manila is such a great thing, why are there so many philipinos living in the US? Strange indeed.

  4. dsula on Fri, 16th Mar 2012 11:21 am 

    >> most American’s don’t know that there are 6,700,000,000 other people on this planet

    I was in Germany the other day, people were surprised when I told them the world population is growing rapidly.

  5. BillT on Fri, 16th Mar 2012 1:50 pm 

    Ah, dsula. Maybe because they can make more money in the US for now? And why are the brains of America starting to go to foreign countries for jobs? And why are Asian engineers gong home to work instead of staying in the Police State called America? And why is the real unemployment twice the government propaganda statistics? Lots of questions, but the answer is a collapsing world economy and financial system hurried on by the shrinking of energy availability. Be patient, the 3rd world is coming to a street near you.

  6. Kenz300 on Fri, 16th Mar 2012 6:07 pm 

    Quote — ” As the world’s population rises so too does demand for food and pressure on farmers. By 2050, experts estimate the population will grow from an estimated 7 to 9 billion people.”
    ————————

    We could not solve the worlds problems of poverty, hunger and despair when the world had 5 billion people and adequate resources. We will not solve the worlds problems in a world of 9 billion people and limited resources. The growing world population will only lead to more poverty, suffering and despair.