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

A wobbly calf grows into a 1,800-pound Lake Stevens behemoth

A shaggy and sometimes cranky bison is the last of his herd. He lives amid encroaching suburbia.

Elderly couple escape serious injuries in crash with train

The driver drove down tracks instead of a road, hitting a slow-moving train near Stanwood.

Officials ID man shot and killed in apparent Everett robbery

Police believe the victim may have known the shooter, who drove away before the officers arrived.

Man, 60, in critical condition after Bothell crash

Police believe the driver may have been speeding when he hit a rock wall.

Missing Marysville woman found safe out of state

A Marysville senior who was reported missing in March has… Continue reading

FBI operation arrests 3 linked to exploitation of 32 women

The sting focused on Everett and other cities in Snohomish, King, Pierce, Skagit and Spokane counties.

Front Porch

EVENTS Seahawks event postponed A Toys for Tots Blue Friday fundraiser that… Continue reading

Man arrested in Monroe Walmart robbery; second suspect flees

The pair fled in a stolen Mitsubishi Lancer with a distinctive green spray paint job.

Dead boy’s ‘gentle giant’ uncle helped search, then confessed

Andrew Henckel, 19, of Texas, said he planned the drowning of Dayvid Pakko, 6. His bail is $1 million.

Most Read