We have written often about the extraordinary waste of food in the world; In America, as much as half of it is lost between the field and the fridge. Health writer Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times picks up on the subject with a discussion of Jonathan Bloom's new book "American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food"Parker-Pope writes that it is extravagant:
Why should we care about food waste? For starters, it's expensive. Citing various studies, including one at the University of Arizona called the Garbage Project that tracked home food waste for three decades, Mr. Bloom estimates that as much as 25 percent of the food we bring into our homes is wasted. So a family of four that spends $175 a week on groceries squanders more than $40 worth of food each week and $2,275 a year.
our vegetable crisper, Nov 2. Credit: Lloyd Alter
Another issue is the design of our fridges, as deep closets where you lose stuff at the back. Or the vegetable crispers that don't.
A major culprit, Mr. Bloom says, is refrigerator clutter. Fresh foods and leftovers languish on crowded shelves and eventually go bad. Mr. Bloom tells the story of discovering basil, mint and a red onion hiding in the fridge of a friend who had just bought all three, forgetting he already had them.
Then there are our ridiculous standards.
"Consumers want perfect foods," said Shirley Van Garde, the now-retired co-author of the Oregon State study. "They have real difficulty trying to tell the difference in quality changes and safety spoilage. With lettuce, take off a couple of leaves, you can do some cutting and the rest of it is still usable."
Good reading in the New York Times
More on Food Waste:
The Impact of Food Waste on Climate Change (And Just About Everything Else)
Food Waste Revealed: From Farm to Store to Kitchen (Photos)
More than £12 Billion in Food Waste Goes in the Garbage Every Year in U.K.
2% US Energy Consumption is Lost Through Food Waste
Study Finds Half of All Food Produced Worldwide is Wasted
Britons Waste $20bn Worth of Food a Year
America Wastes 40% of It's Food Supply Every Year