Down the grain

Published: Sunday 31 August 1997

-- according to a study of the us department of agriculture( usda ), more than one fourth of the food produced in usa is either spoilt, unused or is uneaten on the plate. The study estimates that the food lost in retail stores, restaurants and people's homes in 1995 was more than 43 billion kg, which is about one fourth of the total us food supply of 161 billion kg. Homes and food service sites accounted for about 41 billion kg of lost food while the remaining 2.4 billion kg was lost in retail groceries through overstocking.

Agriculture secretary Dan Glickman says that if a person on an average consumes about one-and-a half-kg of food per day, even a recovery of five per cent of wasted food could provide enough food for about four million people.In terms of trash, even if five per cent of the annual losses were recovered, taxpayers could save about us $50 million in solid waste disposal costs. The usda study did not include losses on the farm or at the wholesale level in its study.

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