Consider these facts:
* Food waste has doubled since 1974.
* The US produces about 590 billion pounds of food and between one quarter and one half of it is squandered during the farm-to-table supply chain. This includes packing, shipping losses and spoilage.
* The EPA stated that discarded food represented the single largest component of solid waste going into landfills and incinerators in 2010.
Food waste comes from a variety of sources:
* Household waste: The average American household throws away 20 lbs of food per month!! This is about two-thirds of a pound per person per day. Most of this waste is comprised of fresh products like fish, eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables.
* Confusion over “Sell-By” dates. Households often discard good food based on these misleading labels. Sell-by dates are merely manufacturer suggestions for peak quality. People to throw out food concerned that it’s spoiled, when it’s fine. Grocery stores often discard perfectly good food as soon as they are past the sell-by date even though they have plenty of shelf life left.
* Gigantic restaurant portions produce tremendous food waste as well as contribute to obesity.
* Perfectly good produce is left to rot in fields because their appearance doesn’t conform to “standards of appearance” set by grocery stores. These standards are driven by consumer bias.
* Understand “Sell-By” dates. Judge the food not by its stamp but by your own senses. If it looks, smells and tastes good it IS good. Cook and freeze foods before they go bad.
* Invest in a vacuum sealer. If you have excess food or left-overs bag it, seal it and freeze it. Vacuum sealers make food lay flat and have a small profile. Many bags can be store in a small area.
* Don’t over serve. It is better to prepare and serve less food than have to throw it away. Make less. If people are still hungry have dessert, fruit or, better yet, wait 20 minutes to see if the feeling passes.
* Raise some chickens! Chickens are almost as good as pigs for consuming kitchen waste. They love the parts we discard. They return delicious, healthy eggs for the scraps!
There is a lot to learn about this sad, growing problem. Take some time to find ways to help reduce food waste in our country.