Ever wonder just how awful the US is when it comes to wasting food? Good news, everyone! We have an answer, and it is terrible: we waste ALL THE FOOD EVER IN THE HISTORY OF TIME (NOT REALLY BUT I DIDN'T FEEL LIKE BREAKING OUT THE CAPS LOCK FOR LIKE FOUR WORDS).
A new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture asserts that the U.S. wastes 141 trillion calories per year — a figure that comes out to almost 1,250 calories per capita per day. The data itself comes from 2010, but that doesn't make it any less staggering. 133 billion pounds of food was lost in 2010 alone, which means that we were wasting almost a third of our entire food supply (31%). The numbers include food contaminated by mold or pests, food thrown away by retailers because of blemishes (can't have an apple with a brown spot, that's how you know it's touched by the Devil), and food left on our plates and scraped into the trash (because leftovers are for those dirty poors!). The most sobering finding? If we were to cut down on our food waste, the cost of food would probably actually go down:
"if food loss is prevented or reduced to the extent that less food is needed to feed people (i.e., the demand for food decreases), then this would likely reduce food prices in the United States and the rest of the world."
Yet people go hungry every day in America (and abroad), despite the vast amount of perfectly good food available to help feed those in need. No reason to care about them, though, right? They're poors who probably deserve their own poverty, and they'd just waste the food anyway by...uh...eating it. Yeah! Screw the needy! Now pass me another burrito so I can chuck 1/3 of it into the trash in the name of "job creation" or some other bullshit buzzword!
The food service industry and banquet serving in particular tends to be an especially egregious offender when it comes to this, with entire buffet spreads tossed right into the trash at the end of the day/event (due to health regulations, employees aren't allowed to take it home with them, though I'd be lying if I said this doesn't happen anyway). I've seen entire trash cans filled with perfectly good food because my employers either didn't feel like taking the time to find a way to donate it or because the aforementioned health regulations actually prevented them from doing so. So...USA! USA! We're #1 (in wasting unfathomably tremendous amounts of food per year)!
Really puts the Roman Empire's decadence and fall into perspective, doesn't it? I mean, public orgies, fights to the death for the amusement of the upper classes, and simulated naval battles inside a Colosseum, sure, but I'm pretty sure even they'd be given pause by throwing away enough food to feed 300 million people per day for an entire year.