New Estimates for a New Era

It’s not every year you get a new USDA study on food waste! 2011 is off to a great start with the recent release of Consumer-Level Food Loss Estimates and Their Use in the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data.

It’s a mouthful, for sure. So what does it mean/contain? In short, the publication updates the USDA’s loss estimates for just about every food item you can imagine. It’s the study that I alluded to earlier that found that fresh pumpkin was the most wasted food in our homes (not a shocker).

FYI, by “consumer level,” the study refers to food both in our homes and away from our homes (at restaurants, schools, cafeterias, hospitals, etc.).  The reasons for this waste, which doesn’t include inedible stuff like peels, cores or bones, include:

  • Losses during cooking and preparation
  • Discards due to preparation of too much food
  • Expired use-by dates
  • Spoilage
  • Plate waste

It’s fun to take a stroll through the 123 pages (OK, ‘fun’ may not be the right word) to see how much of each food we waste and how much the estimates have changed. So have a look. And keep in mind that the authors are looking for feedback on the estimates–don’t be shy about giving it!

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