Study Indicates That the Nation Wastes Nearly Half Its Food

Date: November 18, 2006

Source: News Room

Timothy W. Jones, an anthropologist at the University of Arizona, has spent the last 10 years measuring food loss, examining farms and orchards, warehouses, retail outlets, dining rooms and landfills. What he found was that not only is edible food discarded that could feed people who need it, but the rate of loss, even partially corrected, could save U.S. consumers and corporations tens of billions of dollars each year.

Jones argues that many, though not all, fresh fruit and vegetable growers often behave like riverboat gamblers. They will take a risk on the commodity markets if they think it will help them make a financial killing. A bad bet often means an entire crop is left in the field to be ploughed under. He also estimates that consumers waste 14 percent of their food purchases. A certain percent of loss is unavoidable, but efficiencies that would reduce food waste by half could reduce adverse environmental impacts by 25 percent through reduced landfill use, soil depletion and applications of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

For more information, contact:
Contact Information
Timothy W. Jones, Ph.D.
UA Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology

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