Over $160 Billion in Food Lost in 2010

The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) found that in the U.S. 31% of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten.

This represented a food loss of $161.6 billion.  “Food loss” represents the amount of edible food, postharvest, that is available for human consumption but is not consumed.


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The loss may be related to cooking loss and natural shrinkage; loss from mold, pests, or inadequate climate control; and plate waste.  The top three food groups in terms of their share of total value of food loss were meat, poultry, and fish (30%, $48 billion); vegetables (19 %, $30 billion); and dairy products (17 %, $27 billion). 

EPA’s estimates that food wasted represented nearly 14 % of the municipal solid waste in the U.S. in 2010.

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