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Hey, Troy: How Much Food Gets Wasted in the US?

Ask food critic Troy Johnson any food- or drink-related question that's on your mind

By Troy Johnson

Welcome to a new series. I get a lot of questions regarding food and drink. It’s my job to study it every day, so I tend to come away with a few morsels of usable info. I’d like to share that with you. So go ahead, ask me any question you want. If it’s “Hey, what do you know about this new bistro over on 30th street called My Restaurant?” I may not answer. Or maybe I will. But please try to keep them useful for everyone else.

QUESTION NO. 1: Hey, Troy. How much food gets wasted in the U.S.?

ANSWER: Not nearly enough. I feel that if we really committed ourselves, we could waste almost all the food in the U.S. Currently, only 40 percent of food gets wasted. That leaves 60 percent of food that’s needlessly eaten. In 2014, we wasted enough food to fill the Empire State Building 91 times. Seems like a small number to me for the country that invented the monster truck. The world is a little worse than we are, mostly because they’re not as entitled as we are and they have to care. The globe has only managed to waste a third of its food—a paltry 1.3 billion tons. Imagine how many food fights we could’ve had with that, or we could’ve made kid art. The good news is that every day, Americans are still wasting enough food to fill the Rose Bowl (max capacity, 90,000 people). And in 2010, the largest thing in our municipal waste was discarded food. Thank god we didn’t compost that. Composting is weird.

Hey, Troy: How Much Food Gets Wasted in the US?

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