Thursday, November 25, 2004

In a World of Starvation, Half the Food is Trashed

Almost half of U.S. food is tossed
Nov. 24, 2004 06:30 PM

A University of Arizona scientist has some food for thought for all of us who will sit down to tables groaning beneath the weight of the Thanksgiving feast.

Much of that food likely will be thrown away; in fact, says UA anthropologist Timothy W. Jones, almost half of all food in America never gets eaten. Jones' research evolved from work done in the 1970s by UA archaeologists who began evaluating garbage to see what was being thrown away.

Jones has spent the last 10 years measuring food loss, from farm and orchard, through the warehouses, retail outlets and dining rooms, and eventually to landfills. What he found was that vast amounts of edible food are discarded each year.

Jones found that on average, households waste 14 percent of their food purchases. Fifteen percent of that includes products still within their expiration date but never opened. Jones estimates an average family of four currently tosses out $590 per year, just in meat, fruits, vegetables and grain products.

- William Hermann