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Americans Toss Out 40 Percent of All Food

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posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 12:48 PM
im not trying to sound insensitive to starving people, but why should i be ashamed?

Is it my fault that i have the opportunities that i do? Should i quit my job, give away my belongings, and live in squalor just because someone else doesn't have a choice?

Should i scrape my table scraps into a crate and ship them to some 3rd world country so that it doesn't go to waste?

I agree, it's sad that there are people in this world...hell in this COUNTRY, that go hungry at night. But please, don't tell me that i should feel ashamed that i'm not one of them.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 12:51 PM

Originally posted by loam
While I have no doubt a significant amount of waste occurs, I am skeptical of the methodology employed in this study:

The methodology employed is the one that gives them the best chance to recieve more grants. The more disturbing the findings the better chance for bigger grants for more studies.

Just look at the Global Warming fiasco. Scientists don't care about the truth, they care about getting that next grant.


posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 12:58 PM

Originally posted by woodwardjnr
as an environmental science student, can I ask is it ok to put all your waste food into a composter. This is what ive been doing recently, with left over food, no meats, just bread, eggs, fruit and tea bags. I have a special bin for these scraps, but thought chucking it in with my compost would be more environmentally friendly?

Check out The Bokashi Compost System.

Unlike conventional composting, with a bokashi indoor composter you can safely turn ALL your organic kitchen waste, including meat, fish, dairy and cooked foods, into fantastic, nutrient-rich compost.

I started using the system recently, and almost nothing goes to waste now. The garden/plants love it too!

It can be done on a buget too!

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 01:19 PM
It isn't just an American problem. It happens in many other parts of the world as well.

From entire crops of barely blemished potatoes, to shelves of supermarket sandwiches on their sell-by dates, it is a roll call of waste created by one nation that could lift 150 million people from starvation in one year. The ability of Britons to throw away food deemed imperfect, out-of-date or surplus to requirements was put into sharp relief with the revelation that 30 to 40% of all produce is simply binned. Research based on government statistics has found that, every year, food worth £20bn is discarded on its journey from the farmyard to the fridge. The study puts a figure for the first time on the profligacy of a supply chain where producers are forced to leave fruit rotting on trees because it does not meet supermarket standards and millions are throwing away food for the sake of a "best before" sticker.

The £20bn food mountain: Britons throw away half of the food produced each year

20m tons of food is chucked out from homes and supermarkets, enough to meet half of Africa's food import needs. By Susie Mesure 18.html

India recently halted the export of non-basmati rice to ensure its poor can eat. Meanwhile, every month, residents in the city of Toronto, Canada, toss out 17.5 million kilograms of food. Images of green bins overflowing with food waste stand in stark contrast to media images of riots and food shortages around the world.

I would say most food is thrown away because of government regulations. Imagine giving that food away and people end up sick. Would people even want that leftover knowing they might get sick?

I think people should be conscious of their personal waste of food. But I also believe businesses and corporations are the biggest culprits. They should have plans on what to do with food that is eatable but can't sell.

Supermarkets rather let their food rot than to sell it at an affordable price.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 02:26 PM
reply to post by The Alfer

By the way the Salvation Army and food bank where I live is always crying for donations and the stores would rather throw out still good food than donate it. I really don't understand all this.

They throw it out because if they donate it they are liable and they open themselves up to lawsuits if anyone becomes sick from it. Also in many places there are laws in place that prevent them from donating it, and also because they would lose more money donating it rather than claiming it as a loss.


posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 08:55 PM
I'm a farmer and you would be surprised at how much produce we would throw away each year. The produce had to be the right size, color and shape or it would be thrown away. Also,large amounts would be destroyed because of a lack of a market for it.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 09:11 PM
I find these kinds of studies painfully disturbing.

Not the result mind you, the study itself.

Notice the perspective.

Americans Toss Out 40 Percent of All Food

It would be just as correct, and perhaps more importantly, less biased to say, Americans are habitually preparing, or being presented with, 40% more food than they can consume.

This is, after all, a fully programmed consumerist society. Perhaps the flaw is not in the people, but the conditioning we receive... for the benefit of commerce.

Well, perhaps that's not what they want to say.... perhaps they want to say that Americans (et. al.) are generally profligates and libertines.


posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 10:09 PM

Originally posted by Divinorumus
Well gee, what's the alternative here? Eat everything on your plate and get fat and become a burden upon the up-and-coming socialist government health care system? I suppose they are going to blame this waste upon us fit and trim folks next? Damned if you do, damned if you don't!

buy less, cook less?

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 10:24 PM

Originally posted by DChenO
buy less, cook less?

Actually, I was being facetious. The solution for all this is simple: make food a lot more expensive. People only throw out what they don't value, so make them value it more.

I cook for one, so that proposes a bit of a challenge, but I found many fresh veggies freeze quite well, so I divide what I buy into numerous containers, and then when I later cook something I just dump these frozen items in the frying pan, including frozen sauces from a previous meal (you can freeze sauces in plastic ice cube trays to make reheating quick and easy), along with any left over frozen noddles or whatever (meats I suppose too if you eat other life forms), and it all cooks up in 10 minutes perfect like fresh. If you live alone and don't want to eat those cheap filler filled frozen factory meals sold in the store and don't want to waste leftovers, you can make your own fresh meals simply by knowing how to freeze stuff for later consumption. Don't use the microwave though, that makes food taste like yuck too.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 10:37 PM

Originally posted by The Alfer
While I can't put an exact percentage on it, I myself have witnessed what some restaurants and food markets throw out, perfectly good food in their dumpsters. Yet I've also once witnessed a security guard send a homeless person away from trying to take what some people would consider garbage. I walked up to the guard and told him that was a mean thing to do and it wasn't like it came from his pocket and it was considered trash. I was basically told to go mind my own business. Makes you wonder. By the way the Salvation Army and food bank where I live is always crying for donations and the stores would rather throw out still good food than donate it. I really don't understand all this.

Around here the grocery stores started donating the food to a charity in another town. The local food pantry is literally running out of food because of this, and the local people are not able to utilize the charity in the other town to which the stores are donating. There was a write-up in the local paper about it yesterday.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 10:44 PM
It's one thing to waste food you've already purchased...

But grocery stores waste a LOT more. With jobs disappearing, people don't have as much money to spend on food. But the supermarkets still bring in massive amounts of food. What happens if it doesn't sell and starts to go off? Well they toss it into a waste bin. Then that bin is LOCKED to prevent people from scavenging. At least this is what happens in our small town and we are good acquaintances with the butcher who likes to tell all. Employees are not allowed to take anything home and no one is allowed to donate to the needy, unless they buy it first. And they are strict about locking the bins.

So not only are the prices sky high, and people aren't buying as much, the grocery stores are still making a killer profit. And I feel sorry for farmers, who hardly get paid anything, especially when stores have "Buy One Get One Free" sales on vegetables. The store isn't taking the cut, the poor farmer takes it.

And don't forget when you buy packaged stuff, you're buying the package as well as the stuff inside it. There's a lot of waste in packaging also. I reuse plastic containers as much as possible before tossing into the recycle bin. But the recycling business is kind of another scam in itself. We have to pay to get it hauled away (part of property taxes), but the town is getting a return once they sell the recycle materials. So the town gets income both ways.

Restaurants waste a heck of a lot more food than households. But I have seen households that are very wasteful. Only once in a while will I find a "science project" in the fridge but not very often. I take leftovers and make something new as much as possible. Leftover spaghetti sauce turns into pizza sauce, etc. I thank my grandmother (who died a few months ago) who taught me "waste not, want not." Because of her, I am more careful than ever to make the budget stretch but still eat healthy and waste as little as possible.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 10:47 PM
When I was a kid, my mother used to force me to clean my plate by reminding me of all the starving people in China. Pretty soon, the mothers in China may be forcing their kids to clean their plates, by reminding them of all the starving people in America. Enjoy your excess while you can. I suspect things are going to get much tighter around here before too long.

posted on Nov, 28 2009 @ 05:48 AM
Sounds like someone based this study by assumptions,I've been an American over 56 years and as I can recall only food that was ever thrown out was spoiled products,and that would go for most everyone I know,sounds like a tree hugger trying to blame Americans,put this story where I put outdated food,in the garbage

posted on Nov, 28 2009 @ 07:42 AM
Part of the problem is health and safety laws that don't allow grocery stores/restaurants to donate leftovers to food banks and soup kitchens. On one hand there is a need for such laws, but on the other it causes a lot of waste.

posted on Nov, 28 2009 @ 10:58 AM
It's really sad that people are starving in the world and we wont buy fruit with bruises. I am sure near half of the fruit and vegetables do not get bought at the grocery stores. They probably use some of the produce to make some of there store brand products, but there rest goes in the trash? Maybe they sell the left over produce to be made into compost, which turns into soil to give the nutrients back to the plants.

The way to make us use the most out of our food is to make food cost more or give us less money. I think the ones in charge chose the latter. Not that either is the answer. This is just what our society has become extremely wasteful with just about everything.

posted on Nov, 28 2009 @ 11:57 AM
I've worked in restaurants for decades, and I can tell you that the amount of food that gets thrown away every single is just mind-boggling. I've always talked to management about donating the food but they say that by law, that food which has "expired" has to be thrown away.

In the past couple of years, the restaurant I currently work at has started donating some food to a food collection agency. But they can only donate certain things, and those things have to be frozen. They said they cannot freeze and donate bread, pasta, or produce. That makes no sense to me because you can buy all those things in the frozen section at the grocery store, and at home, I freeze all those things if I have leftovers that we can't finish.

Once upon a time restaurant managers would let its staff take home food which had to be thrown away but not any more. They'd rather throw it in the garbage. One girl who worked for the company for years was fired for taking food which was going to be thrown in the garbage anyway. Another guy was fired for taking potatoes which were going to be thrown away because they were too small.

I used to work in a grocery store which is no longer is business, and for a time I worked in the dairy department. All the cheese, yogurt, milk, canned biscuits, butter, packaged cookies, eggs, etc. that were at the end of their "use by" date got thrown away.

Every day I worked I had to throw away so much dairy products you wouldn't believe it. My supervisor would take some of that stuff home and didn't care if the rest of us took some home as well. Butter and cheeses that were considered "trash" were still perfectly fine to eat. But even with staff taking home some of that stuff, there was still an incredible amount that was getting thrown away. And that was just the dairy department. The produce and meat departments also had a lot of waste. Then there were the canned goods and frozen stuff that got tossed. It's really sad to see so much food going in the garbage when there are so many people who are going hungry.

While corporate waste in the restaurant business and retail is staggering from what I've seen, individual waste seems very high too. When I was a server, I was shocked how much food people leave on their plate. Some of them would ask for a take-home box, but many others did not. How much food I scraped off their plates and threw away was crazy.

At home, we try very hard to minimize our food waste. If we have bananas we can't eat, I freeze them. Frozen bananas make great smoothies or banana bread.

I make fresh bread every other day, and I also freeze some of the bread I make. If I buy too much produce, I freeze it. Fresh corn and beans can be blanched and frozen. I've even frozen whole ears of corn without blanching.

When my parents bring me produce from their garden and fruit from their trees, I make lots of pasta sauce, fried apples, and freeze a lot as well. I've also done a lot of dehydrating, and my parents do a lot of canning.

Other ways to deal with leftover produce is to give it away to your friends if you don't have room in your freezer or don't have time to blanch it. One gal I work with is always bringing me fresh produce that she can't eat because she can't bear to throw it away. Then when I prepare the food, I keep some for ourselves and bring some to her and others at work.

There's just no reason to be throwing food away. Give it away, freeze it, dehydrate it or can it.

posted on Nov, 28 2009 @ 01:10 PM
Make people poorer and the problem would be solved.

It's not the fault of the people, it's the money for the fuel that feeds the fires of waste.

Less money, less fuel, more consideration, less waste.

[edit on 28/11/2009 by nerbot]

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