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article imageDespite Global Shortages, Americans Throw Out More Food Each Year

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By Bob Gordon     Nov 27, 2009 in Food
Famine and malnutrition ravage significant parts of the globe. Not the U.S., though. In America more and more food is being disposed of as waste and ending up in landfills
Three researchers from the Laboratory of Biological Modeling, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America, recently published a study that confirms the unrestrained waste of food in the United States.
Their report commences with an outline of the significance of their research; "Food waste contributes to excess consumption of freshwater and fossil fuels which, along with methane and CO2 emissions from decomposing food, impacts global climate change."
Their findings are shocking: "We found that US per capita food waste has progressively increased by ~50% since 1974 reaching more than 1400 kcal per person per day or 150 trillion kcal per year. Food waste now accounts for more than one quarter of the total freshwater consumption and ~300 million barrels of oil per year."
Disturbing also is the fate of this food waste. Research by two sociologists from Cornell and Mary Griffin, a registered dietitian at the Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, New York, published earlier this year analyzed that question.
Their study quantified food waste in one U.S. county in 1998–1999. They identified three options for waste food --donation, compost or landfill. The vast majority of food waste in the United Sates goes straight to landfill. According to their study, "Less than one-third (28%) of total food waste was recovered via composting (25%) and food donations (3%), and over 7,000 tons (72%) were landfilled. More than 8.8 billion kilocalories of food were wasted, enough to feed county residents for 1.5 months."
While many regions worry about malnutrition and famine residents of most parts of the the United States need to worry about the deleterious environmental impacts their gargantuan waste of food products is having.
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