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Don’t Lose Your Lunch: US Wastes 141 Trillion Calories Per Year

The US Department of Agriculture has released a new figure revealing that 141 trillion calories of food are wasted in America each year. The number was arrived at through analysis of data from 2010, and the data also indicated that Americans disposed of 133 billion pounds of food that year, or 31% of the entire food supply. In addition to the fact that all that food was valued at over $161 billion, economic experts agree that reducing the level of food waste would decrease demand, lowering the cost of edible goods the world over.

The top three types of food discarded by Americans are dairy products, clocking in at 25 billion pounds, or 19%, then vegetables, at roughly the same amount, followed by grain products at 18.5 billion pounds (14%). The food considered by the USDA for these figures included everything “available for consumption,” including food that became spoiled or contaminated due to age or neglect, as well as anything and everything tossed out by restaurants and stores.

While the problem of food waste is certainly an epidemic, hope remains alive that Americans can curb the issue. Among the factors that have caused people to begin curtailing the of food waste are 1) the extreme cost, 2) the destructive environmental effects of decomposing or incinerated food, which both create greenhouse gases, and 3) the alarming rate of hunger in the world despite the overwhelming surplus of food in the U.S.

Luckily, businesses and start-up programs have begun to put all that food to good use. Many even go so far as to purchase just-expired goods from the grocery store – which are still edible for a few days after the expiration date – to either resell at a discount or supply to those in need. People looking to curb their own food waste should try to keep items sealed and/or refrigerated as much as possible, while making sure to only purchase the bare necessities.


The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.