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Americans Wasting Billions in Fruits and Veggies

In the United States, almost a third of the food available in restaurants and homes went uneaten, either due to spoiling, overstocking or throwing away leftovers, according to a recent government report. The loss adds up to about 133 billion pounds, an estimated $161.6 billion using 2010 retail prices, the last year data was available.

The report by the United States Department of Agriculture found that 31 percent of available food is lost. The report defined food loss as any time an edible food goes uneaten. This can occur from spoilage to throwing away food left on your plate. Food loss also includes cooking loss and natural shrinkage, such as when leafy greens wilt.

Food losses from retail stores represented 10 percent and consumers losses 21 percent. Of all the food lost, about 30 percent was fruits and vegetables. Meats, poultry and fish made up another thirty percent.

Estimaged value of food loss at the retail and consumer levels, 2010

Source: Jean C. Buzby, Hodan Farah Wells, and Jeffrey Hyman. "The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States."  Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-121) 39 pp, February 2014.

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