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Martin Murray

Food Waste in the US

By October 16, 2012

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Food Waste A variety of reports have found that over 30 million tons of food are being are being sent to landfill in the US each year. That equates to billions of dollars that are simply thrown in the garbage. The reasons for food waste are many fold. Consumers discard produce due to spoilage and producers discard food that is perfectly consumable but is unsaleable. In addition there is food that is manufactured but cannot be sold due to issues with packaging and labeling. Again these products may be totally useable but due to labeling restrictions the items cannot be sold to the public.

In the US, 14.5 percent of households, which equates to almost 49 million Americans, are having issues purchasing enough food. The issue of food waste is a subject that should be addressed immediately by groups such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), as well as food manufacturers individually. All manufacturers have a responsibility to package and label food correctly the first time and stop the waste of sending consumable items to the landfill. Although groups like Feeding America and other groups are doing what they can to help hungry Americans, there are still billions of dollars of food ending up in landfills each year.

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Comments

October 16, 2012 at 11:52 pm
(1) Food Bank Worker says:

It is a national tragedy that food companies waste billions of dollars worth of food each year just because of bad colors on the packaging or the misspelling of a additive. Millions go hungry every night, and these companies are more worried about some lawsuit by someone who actually reads the way to the bottom of the list of ingredients. It is this nations shame.

October 20, 2012 at 12:12 am
(2) Simon Mortlake says:

Food manufacturers and farmers are restricted in their labeling by the laws on the books and the the government (and FDA) are responsible for such rigorous restrictions. I know that these are to keep us safe and such, but people are hungry every day. There must be a way of getting this food to the people who need it or the food banks that get it to the needy.

October 20, 2012 at 2:21 am
(3) Lindsey Rocca says:

I feel terrible every time I read something like this. I want to know what I can do to get this food out of the waste bin and into the hands of millions who need the food every day.

October 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm
(4) Belle Bradley says:

I agree that manufacturers are to blame, but the blame has to be apportioned to the government to make such crazy labeling requirements, that one small misprint can send thousands of dollars of food into the garbage bin. Totally mad. Do hungry people care if there is a misprint, no way.

October 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm
(5) Mary Stockwell says:

Food waste is more than manufacturers disposing of food that could be given to those in need. There is billions of tons of fresh food which sits in fields and rots as the farmers are paid whatever happens. Small farmers are told that they can’t sell fruit that is too small or too big, so it rots. This is fundamentally wrong. Our society is flawed so badly with this need to have the perfect apple or food that takes seconds to make in a microwave.

October 22, 2012 at 11:03 am
(6) Susan Grant says:

It is appalling the food companies are allowed to discard good food that could feed hungry Americans. Why does not one in the government do anything? I don’t care which of those two buffoons win the election, neither of them will do anything except help their own.

October 23, 2012 at 4:51 am
(7) Bruce J Evans says:

Food waste is something we never hear about in the news and I think this type of thing should be headline news everyday. We have millions going hungry and millions of pounds of foods being discarded. It’s a national shame.

October 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm
(8) Tom MacDonald says:

Very upset when I read about this. I hope that the food banks get a chance to use some of this food that would otherwise go to waste. Do the food banks have to relabel the food?????

October 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm
(9) Calgary Food Bank says:

I don’t know so much about the US, but in Canada we have similar issues with food being tossed out for minor labelling infractions. It is a crying shame that these “packaging” mishaps waste so much food. At the food back we struggle to get enough basic food for low-income Calgarians. Everybody should work together to create a hunger-free community wherever they live. It is the responsibility of the food manufacturers to be a part of that solution too.

November 10, 2012 at 12:15 am
(10) Carol Wechsler says:

I get very upset when I read that 30 million tons of food are being are being sent to landfill each year in the US. Our community is having a hard time with bad weather, unseasonably cold temperatures, and many people out of work who cannot feed their families or pets. I am very upset by these figures

December 8, 2013 at 9:01 pm
(11) Mandi says:

All of those slightly mislabled foods can be donated to the food bank. If there’s just a small problem with the label or the colors people who are STARVING will not care. And it would actually cause some good. Those extremely poor people who go the food bank weren’t going to buy that expensive food anyways so there’s no lose of business for the company. All it does it makes it so the food isn’t completely wasted. so what if it can’t be sold? Some poor kid who’s starving would love to eat it. Also, I’ve seen day old bread at the food bank, anything that’s just slightly past or on the sell by date can still be consumed by those who are desperate.

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