Half of world’s food is wasted, study finds

LOS ANGELES — Up to half of the food produced worldwide never makes it into a consumer’s mouth, according to a new report.

That’s as much as 2 billion tons of grub that’s wasted, according to a study released Thursday by Britain’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Part of the problem is in the supply chain, in which inefficient agricultural practices, inadequate infrastructure, limited transportation options and poor storage capacity lead to squandered harvests and misused land, water and energy resources, according to researchers.

But consumers and retailers are also to blame, according to the group.

Overly strict sell-by dates means food is often thrown out before its time, the study says. The preponderance of buy-one-get-one-free offers causes households to buy more food than they can eat before it spoils. And, customer demand for cosmetically perfect fruits and vegetables results in piles of scratched or misshapen — but still nutritious — produce ending up in the trash.

In Britain, some 30 percent of vegetable crops are left unharvested because they’re not pretty enough, according to the report. In Europe and the U.S., consumers dump half of the food they buy, researchers said.

That’s despite the nearly 1 billion people who go hungry globally, and the additional 3 billion mouths to feed expected by 2075.

“The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering,” said Dr. Tim Fox, who heads up the energy and environment division at the engineers’ group.

In a separate report this summer, the Natural Resources Defense Council said that Americans waste up to 40 percent of the country’s food supply, at a cost of $165 billion. That’s 20 pounds per person per month, according to the advocacy group.

More in Local News

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Officials to test sanity of suspect in Everett crime spree

He allegedly tried to rob and clobber a transit worker, then fled and struggled with police.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
Everett’s brush with Katharine Graham, leader of ‘The Post’

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson recalls The Washington Post publisher’s visits.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Families seek to change wrongful death law

A bill would allow or parents or siblings who wish to pursue a suit for an unmarried, childless adult.

Most Read