In the United States, about $165 billion worth of food is wasted annually according to some estimates. And about 40 percent of all food in this country goes uneaten. How does this happen? There are many factors from the farm to the table that play a part in this terrible waste.
[6:141] He is the One who established gardens, trellised and untrellised, and palm trees, and crops with different tastes, and olives, and pomegranate ―fruits that are similar, yet dissimilar. Eat from their fruits, and give the due alms on the day of harvest, and do not waste anything. He does not love the wasters.
Farming: Roughly 7 percent of the produce grown in the US simply gets stranded on fields each year. Sometimes growers plant more than will ever be used, just in case of disease and bad weather. And some of the crop will not meet standards for shape and color.
Post-harvest and packing: After the crops have been gathered from the fields, farmers must be sure it meets minimum standards for size, color, and weight. Only about half of the vegetables on some fields actually leaves the farm. The rest is simply thrown away, though one would hope that much of this waste goes into mulch.
Processing and distribution: A lot of food gets lost in the manufacturing stage. There may be technical malfunctions, especially with refrigeration. If food sits too long at improper temperatures, it may spoil. Another problem is that stores often reject shipments, and then the distributor must find somewhere else to unload the goods. This can be time consuming and difficult, so often the food is just dumped. To prevent such waste, the food can be donated to a Food Bank, where it can be given to those in need.
Retail and grocery stores: Stores are another point of food waste. According to the USDA grocery stores discard $15 billion worth of fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables each year. The current practice is to look at this as the cost of doing business. Supermarkets feel it’s better to have too much and throw out the unused than let shelves look empty. It’s also important that the food looks appealing to customers. Shoppers don’t want bruised vegetables and fruit, so slightly damaged but still perfectly edible produce is often discarded. Then there’s the “sell-by” expiration dates. On average, stores are estimated to discard over $2000 worth of food daily because of the sell-by date. Most of this food is good and safe to eat. Again, if organizations partner with a food bank, the food could be used by people in need.
Food service and restaurants: In restaurants, a lot of food is wasted in the kitchen. Things fall on the floor or are improperly cooked and have to be discarded. Restaurants also like to have all their menu items always available, so they will keep more food than they actually need. Many chain restaurants have a policy that all remaining food must be thrown out at the end of every day so customers can be assured of fresh food. Another issue is restaurants make large serving sizes, more than the average person can or should eat. Any leftovers must be thrown away.
Households: it’s estimated that each American household throws away over $1000 worth of food a year. We talk about money down the drain; this is like throwing money into the garbage. This is where we can really do our part, by not buying, cooking, or putting on our plate more than we can eat; by clearing out our shelves and taking the excess to a food bank or shelter; by donating time and money to a local food bank, or starting one if there isn’t one locally.
Here in Tucson, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve the needy through a food pantry. By God’s grace we have helped over 18,000 families and almost 40,000 individuals. We thank everyone for their contributions to this effort.
God condemns wastefulness and hoarding and tells us to be appreciative of the food He has provided for us.
[2:168] O people, eat from the earth’s products all that is lawful and good, and do not follow the steps of Satan; he is your most ardent enemy.
[2:172] O you who believe, eat from the good things we provided for you, and be thankful to GOD, if you do worship Him alone.
[6:118] You shall eat from that upon which GOD’s name has been pronounced, if you truly believe in His revelations.
[52:19] Eat and drink happily, in return for your works.
I must be very thankful to God that I have a roof over my head and food on my plate. We all must be appreciative.
[8:26] Remember that you used to be few and oppressed, fearing that the people may snatch you, and He granted you a secure sanctuary, supported you with His victory, and provided you with good provisions, that you may be appreciative.
[14:7] Your Lord has decreed: “The more you thank Me, the more I give you.” But if you turn unappreciative, then My retribution is severe.
[16:114] Therefore, you shall eat from GOD’s provisions everything that is lawful and good, and be appreciative of GOD’s blessings, if you do worship Him alone.
[31:12] We have endowed Luqmãn with wisdom: “You shall be appreciative of GOD.” Whoever is appreciative is appreciative for his own good. As for those who turn unappreciative, GOD is in no need, Praiseworthy.
[39:66] Therefore, you shall worship GOD alone, and be appreciative.
How the US manages to waste $165 billion in food each year, Washington Post.