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May 1 2022 08:00 AM

A report published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted that one-third of the food produced in the United States is never eaten. The amount of food waste in the nation has tripled since 1960. About half of this waste occurs at the consumption level, in restaurants and at home. The most wasted foods are fruits and vegetables, followed by eggs and dairy products.

This uneaten food contains enough calories to feed more than 150 million people each year. Beyond the nutritional losses, there is also an environmental impact. EPA reported that it takes the volume of greenhouse gas released by 24 coal-fired power plants, enough water and energy to support 50 million homes, and an agricultural land area the size of California and New York to produce these wasted foods.

In 2015, the United States announced a goal to halve food loss and waste by 2030, but little progress has been made. The United States wastes more food per person than almost any other country in the world. Reducing food waste would help reduce food insecurity as well tackle climate change.

This article appeared in the May 2022 issue of Journal of Nutrient Management on page 5.

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