40% of Food Goes to Waste

 

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Over 90% of Americans may be prematurely tossing food because they misinterpret expiration dates, according to the study by Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council, a non-profit environmental action group. Faulty expiration-date rules are confusing at best, says Dana Gunders, a NRDC staff scientist with the food and agriculture program. “Sell by” dates are actually for stores to know how much shelf life products have they are not meant for consumers or to indicate the food is bad. “Best before” and “use by” dates are for consumers, but they are manufacturers’ estimates as to when food has reached its peak.

Wasted food is a big problem in the U.S. An estimated $900 million worth of expired food is removed from the supply chain every year. All the wasted food adds up: As much as 40% of food goes uneaten in the U.S., according to estimates from the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency. Americans are, in other words, throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion in wasted food every year, a separate analysis by the NRDC found. In fact, one study estimates, just 15% of all this wasted food would be enough to feed more than 25 million Americans every year. And one in six Americans currently lacks a secure supply of food, Gunders says.

via Market Watch