Government works to reduce food waste

WASHINGTON — Americans throw away more than a third of the food they buy — that’s almost $400 a year per person, or more than an average month’s worth of groceries.

In 2010, an estimated 133 billion pounds of food from U.S. retailers, restaurants, and homes was tossed.

Working with the nation’s largest retailers and food companies, the Agriculture Department and the EPA said Tuesday that they are going to try and bring those numbers down.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the department will work with industry to make it easier for companies to donate misbranded meat and poultry, test out a meat-composting program and increase donations of edible food that may get discarded because of appearance.

EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe said that food decomposing in landfills can create greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

“Food waste is the single largest type of waste entering our landfills,” Perciasepe said.

The EPA recommends that consumers cook what they already have at home before buying food and to plan menus to cut down on unwanted ingredients. The agency also recommends composting any leftover food, ordering smaller portion sizes at restaurants and donating edible foods to food banks.

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