Thursday, August 6, 2015

Related imageFood. We all need it and want it so then why do we throw so much of it away? A report by the Natural Resources Defense Council says that as much as 40% per cent of all the food produced in the United States never gets eaten. Americans throw away $165 billion worth of food every year.  This can’t be intentional can it? That is about 20 pounds per person every month.  That is enough food every year to fill 130 football stadiums every year.  Between producers, sellers and consumers, Americans are throwing out 1/3 or more of our food. The amount we throw out has increased by 50% since the 1970’s.
The USDA household Food Security in the United States in 2013 said that 49 million people lived in food insecure households. There are parents going without food to make sure their kids get a meal first. To purchase food is expensive and stores rather throw out their un- sold food every day than give it for free to people.  We are also wasting the labor and natural resources that went into making the food.  Too much food thrown into a landfill that doesn’t have a chance to dry out and decomposes without air   can create methane which is a greenhouse gas that is more than 20 times as potent as CO2 at trapping heat.
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When we throw away so much food we are wining and dining rats and raccoons. It is a good thing that we have access to so much food. However it is a shame that farmers are pumping so much water into food that is just going to be a garnish for a landfill. Our fruit has a grading system not by how it tastes but by how it looks. So if a peach is beautiful it will get a number one grade and sell at maximum price. If a peach has a flaw on it but tastes the same it will get a number 2 rating and is usually left to rot in the field. This is all so wasteful.

91% of consumers reported that at least occasionally they had discarded food past its “sell by” date out of concern for the product’s safety.” Most of the time it is still editable. With the exception of baby formula The Federal Government does not require  any food to carry an expiration date. State laws vary widely too. There are nine states that do not require any date labeling at all which means that sell by dates are one of those things that look official but you can probably ignore.  Some toss the food just to avoid potential lawsuits.

Related imageIf you donate food you are covered against lawsuits as an individual by a 1791 Bill called the Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.  The fact remains that it is a lot cheaper to simply throw the food away than to donate it. In their defense, companies are not charities and is why they should have an incentive to donate food. Congress get off your ass and give tax breaks to places that are willing to donate their goods or services and the world would be a less Hungary place. Recently the   H.R. 644 Bill was proposed as being called the “Fighting Hunger Incentive Act of 2015” Representative Eric Paulsen a Republican from Minnesota wants it to be a permanent tax deduction. The Bill passed the House vote however it got bundled in with the   “America Gives More Act of 2015”
When it arrived on the Senate floor, the content was changed again and the title was now called something different but at least it passed those guys too. We all agree that small businesses should get tax breaks to donate food but we have to find a way that it will not cost them money to get the produce out of the trash.

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