Food waste in the U.S. is a huge problem. 80 percent of our water consumption, more than 50 percent of our land area and 10 percent of our energy use goes to agriculture, yet 40 percent of that food production gets thrown away. Most of this unused food ends up in landfills, where it rots and produces methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.
This is a huge environmental problem, as well as a moral issue. The wasted food from North America and Europe could also feed the world’s starving population three times over.
Farms, grocery stores, restaurants and packaging and marketing leaders all play a major role in this impractical waste of food and this environmental and social challenge. And there lies another factor that the corporate media would like to keep buried: When an expiration label on a food has “expired” it is still safe for consumption. These labels are created by the companies who produced the food, and they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. These early expiration dates are beneficial to the corporations that produce the food. When something has “expired,” the consumer will throw it out, and purchase again.
Massive food waste is a call for everyone to educate themselves about thoughtful options. For example, Roger Gordon developed a business that utilizes mobile technology to transport soon to be “expired” food from grocery stores and restaurants to food banks and soup kitchens. While Gordon may have found a promising solution to helping hungry Americans, many business owners are still reluctant to donate and worry that someone could sue them if they get sick from “expired” food. Caring politicians passed the Good Samaritan Act, which protects those who donate food from such liabilities. You and your daily choices can also make a difference.
Source: Karim Chrobog, “Can We End America’s Massive Food Waste Problem?” YES! Magazine. November 24, 2015, www.yesmagazine.org/planet/can-we-end-americas-massive-food-waste-problem-20151125
Student Researcher: Kevin Schwach (San Francisco State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)