The Amount of Food Waste in America is Alarming.

Dear Editor,

Food waste is defined as unused or uneaten food that is fit for consumption, but getting thrown out for no good reason at the retail or consumption phase. This means we are throwing out any food that we don’t finish or it has presumed gone bad in our refrigerator, often because of misread or misunderstood expiration dates. Restaurants and grocery stores are guilty too, they throw out billions of pounds of perfectly good food each year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that approximately 40 percent of the food supply grown in the United States ends up wasted. Mishandled food can spoil at any stage of production, can be damaged by insects or rodents, or even mold and bacteria. Once the food reaches the consumers, an unsettling 80 percent of Americans waste food. According to one in eight Americans experience food insecurity while $200 billion is getting spent on food that will never be eaten. The amount of food wasted in the U.S. each year equals 130 billion meals. That could easily end hunger in the U.S. according to We must do better. 

Here is how we as consumers can make a difference and we must! According to the Mayo Clinic, there are some easy ways to reduce food waste: take an inventory, create a meal plan, save and eat leftovers safely, store food appropriately and buy “ugly” foods. We must also support our local food banks. The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano’s website says they rescue 4,500,000 pounds of food waste annually which equates to more than 3,500, 000 meals monthly. The website also shares ways to volunteer such as helping to take in orders from large distributors and organizing food in the warehouse. When I first read the information on food waste I was so shocked and sad about how much food gets wasted. I am making a commitment to change the way I shop for food and also, making a habit of donating to food banks on a regular basis. I hope you will too.  

Angela Kaplan, DVC student