Waste Definitions: The US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)

Food Waste Definitions
Large amounts of nutritious produce go to waste in farm fields, get discarded as imperfect for markets, or perish at various stages of the food supply chain. A report by the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) details the substantial opportunities for waste throughout the food supply chain. Food waste starts at the farm, for reasons such as weather (droughts or floods), pest infestations, damage by machinery, and blemishes or irregular sizes making the food less than perfect for distribution to market. Additional waste occurs in the processing stage due to improper handling, improper temperature control, compliance with food safety regulations (such as food exceeding its “sell-by”
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Food loss at the processing stage may be due to technical issues such as insect infestations in storage, imodle, stored at an incorrect temperature, deteriation, or impromper transportation and handling. Perishable food is more likely to be lost at this point rather than non-perishable food. Food safety regulations inacted by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service diverts some product from entering the consumer side of the food supply chain. For example, food that has reached the sell-by date while still in the supermarket is an important compoentn of food loss. However, some of these items such as day old bread from a bakery are potentially recoverable. Non-perishable foods such as canned fruits, cereals, and pasta may get discareded because of crushed, dented, or otherwise damaged packaging and expired shelf dates. In developed countries, an estimated 12% of fresh produce is lost in transition from production to retail sites with a range from 2% to 23% for individual commodities (Kader, …show more content…
(Bio Intelligence Service, 2010). This translates into roughly 179 kg of food waste per capita.
In 2009, Statistics Austria provided loss estimates for individual foods available for domestic consumption (e.g., 20.8% for carrots) and for aggregated food groups (e.g., 15.3% for all vegetables), however the data does not differentiate between edible and non-edible food that was wasted. (Statistics Austria, 2010). A study in Sweden estimated roughly one-fifth of food in foodservice establishments in Sweden are lost (Engstrom and Carlsson-Kanyama, 2004).
United States: The US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) estimated the amount of food lost from the available food supply in the United States in 2008 for several hundred individual food commodities by food group, at both the retail and consumer levels. In total, 29% or 57.2 million mt of the 194.2 million mt of available food supply were lost from human consumption in 2008. Re- tail-level losses tallied 10% (19.5 million mt) and consumer level losses totaled 19% (37.7 million mt) of the available, edible food supply. The estimated total value of fruit and vegetable losses at the retail and consumer levels in the United States was $42.8 billion in 2008 or roughly $141 per capita (Buzby et al., 2011). The 19% consumer-level loss estimate out of the edible food

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