U.S. Throws Away Half of All Produce

Demand for ‘Perfect’ Fruits and Vegetables Means Much Is Discarded, Leaving People Hungry

According to a report in The Guardian, vast quantities of fresh produce grown in the U.S. are left in the field to rot, fed to livestock, or hauled directly from the field to landfill because of unrealistic cosmetic standards, according to data and interviews with dozens of farmers, packers, truckers, researchers, campaigners, and government officials.

This type of food waste can be described as a “farm-to-fork” problem. Produce is lost in fields, warehouses, packaging, distribution, supermarkets, restaurants, and consumer’s homes. By one government tally, about $160 billion worth is wasted by retailers and consumers every year. That lost food is seen increasingly as a drag on household incomes—about $1,600 a year for a family of four—and a direct challenge to global efforts to fight hunger, poverty, and climate change. One food research organization estimates that 5–10 percent of the U.S. population does not have enough to eat.



Photo: Under the Apple Tree via photopin (license)