Is The U.S. Losing The Fight Between Food Waste and Feeding The Hungry?

The EPA estimates that about 63 million tons of food were wasted in 2018 alone. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 10.5 percent of American households – about 13.7 million households – had difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources at some time during the following year.

Today, the problem is much worse. According to World Food Program USA, $1 trillion worth of edible food is now lost or wasted every year, while Americans waste 20 pounds of food each month

In many cases, the food tossed into our nation’s landfills is wholesome, edible food, which could be better put to use by feeding hundreds of thousands of hungry people.

Millions of tons of food are sent to landfills each year while people go hungry.
Source: Adobe Stock/New Africa
Millions of tons of food are sent to landfills each year while people go hungry.

It’s not for lack of want or liability concerns on the part of suppliers that all this food goes to waste. In fact, the EPA currently makes it possible for large manufacturers, supermarket chains, wholesalers, farmers, restaurants, caterers, hotels, and other food establishments to distribute their perishable and prepared foods to hungry people without the risk of liability, under the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.

There are also many potential tax benefits for companies that donate food. The U.S. Farm Bill authorizes several critical programs that take American-grown crops like rice, corn, wheat and soy beans and distribute them to vulnerable people in need.

Food instability can have negative impacts on children's health.
Source: Adobe Stock/wckiw
Food instability can have negative impacts on children’s health.

According to Feeding America, 21% of the world’s landfill space is taken up by food waste, with U.S. figures not far off the average. That’s enough for the National food industry and environmental organizations, government agencies and even the UN to classify as a threat to the environment.

In 2015, the UN set a goal of reducing food waste by half by 2030, which the U.S. followed up with its own “2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction Goal.”

There are tax incentives for food producers who can divert food from the landfill and into hungry stomachs.
Source: Adobe Stock/New Africa
There are tax incentives for food producers who can divert food from the landfill and into hungry stomachs.

This effort aims to help feed the hungry, save money for families and businesses and protect the environment by working with USDA and partners in every state and tribe. Leaders in the food system (e.g., private, government, nonprofit, academia, faith) are being called on in this effort to promote action and bring more successful interventions and tools to advance the sustainable management of food.

Despite all these federal programs and subsidies, some major producers still are not motivated to divert their unsellable food from the landfill. What can make a difference is the support of the Food Industry Association, the collective advocate for an industry that touches the lives of over 100 million households in the United States.

Millions of Americans shouldn't have to go hungry every day.
Source: Adobe Stock/soupstock
Millions of Americans shouldn’t have to go hungry every day.

Click the button below and join a growing number of individuals asking for the Food Industry Association to support policies that feed the hungry, rather than letting perfectly good food go to waste.

Help Feed the Hungry

Provide food and supplies to those in need at The Hunger Site for free!

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