Article image

Study: Americans discard food at alarming rates

Food tossed in trash cans contains nutrients that could help many Americans meet daily dietary requirements, a new study says.

Each day, 1,217 calories per person are squandered, according to the Johns Hopkins University study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics  .

Discarded food contains large amounts of vitamin D, fiber and potassium that could help people get the food they need to meet their daily recommended intake, said the study, the first to quantify the nutritional value of discarded food.

Perishable foods such as fruits and vegetables are lost at particularly high rates, the researchers said.

They hope the findings will raise awareness of food waste and how to prevent it. The data can be as a baseline for tracking intervention impacts, the authors said.

“Although only a portion of discarded food can realistically be made available for human consumption, efforts to redistribute surplus foods where appropriate and prevent food waste in the first place could increase the availability of nutrients for Americans, while saving money and natural resources,” the study said. “The U.S. has established a target of halving food loss and waste by 2030. This research supports the case for action and for registered dietitian nutritionists to bring their expertise to the effort.”

Researchers used data from the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference to calculate the nutritional value of retail and consumer level waste of 213 commodities.

Americans waste food at an alarming rate throughout the food supply chain with  an estimated at 31-40 percent of the post-harvest food supply discarded, the study said.

Just the fiber discarded each day is equivalent to the fiber recommended daily allow for 74 million adult women.

By: David Beasley Staff Writer

Source: Elsevier Health Sciences

Image Credit: Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day