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Study: 50% of fruit and vegetables go to waste in affluent countries

The amount of food wasted in developed countries has always been known to be ridiculous. And it’s not just the food itself which goes to waste. It’s also the resources such as water and labor. It is also estimated that food loss and waste accounts for nearly 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Now a new study by Monika van den Bos Verma and her colleagues from Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands says it could actually be worse than we thought. And apparently the more affluent are to blame.

Previously, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated that in 2005, one third of all food available for human consumption was wasted (uneaten).

However, the new study says that it could actually be more than double that. Currently, the world produces enough food waste — about 1.4 billion tons — to feed as many as two billion people each year. That’s roughly one-third of the global food supply.

A 2014 report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that the U.S. loses or wastes 133 billion pounds of food per year. That’s 31 percent of the country’s annual available food supply — 429 pounds per person, per year. Americans’ food loss was worth about $161.6 billion at retail prices in 2010, the USDA says

Fruits and vegetables, in addition to root and tuber-vegetables, have the highest percentage of waste at 50 percent, according to the authors of the study. Cereals come next at 30 percent losses followed by 35 percent for fish and 20 percent for oil seeds, meat and dairy.

Read the full report in ZME Science here

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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