America Will Not Share

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How many pounds of food do you think American’s waste each year? 10 million? 20 million? Try 30 million. There are much less fortunate people in much less fortunate places that suffer from starvation every day. These innocent people can easily be helped, and this problem could be solved if we all worked together and realized much food we waste together as a country. So why are we wasting so much food in the U.S.? how much food is still edible and is wasted because of carelessness? How can we prevent this problem from getting way worse and hopefully have this problem fixed within 15 years? Americans should be more aware of the food they are wasting and how much that can impact other countries that could have that food.

Here is a simple question to ask but a hard one to answer. Why are we wasting so much food in America? Well for starters, people believe just because the sell-by date on the product has passed, that means the product has expired and poses health risks. In turn, they throw out the item that was potentially still safe to consume. The date is usually correct, and you should not keep the food or drink for too long over the date unless you have not opened the item yet. However, you should check the food or drink yourself before throwing it out because it could potentially still be good for another few days if the item was taken care of and stored properly the whole time. In the article “Do Food Expiration Dates Really Matter?” author Star Lawrence writes in her article:

The labeling “sell by” tell the store how long to display the product for sale. You should but the product before the date expires. This is basically a guide for the retailer, so the store knows when to pull the item. This is not mandatory so reach back and get the freshest. The issue is quality of the item (freshness, taste, and consistency) rather than whether it is on the verge of spoiling. Paul VanLandingham, EdD, a senior faculty member at the center for food and beverage management of Johnson & Wales university says the “sell by” date is the last day the item is at its highest level of quality, but it will still be edible for some time after.”

The sell by date is just for the shopkeepers to know when to take that item off the shelf. If you purchase the item after the date, the taste, consistency and overall satisfaction of this product will most likely be much lower than a fresher version, however, it is still edible to some state. Consumers going by the sell-by or best if used by dates may not know the impacts they are having on the environment. They do not know the amount of money and food waste they will reduce if the consumed the whole product even if it is slightly past those dates listed on the product. Another reason why we are wasting so much food in America is that people in the united sates have eyes bigger than their stomachs. They buy much more food than they need and could possibly consume. When we go out to eat and do not finish what we ordered we usually bring that food home with us as leftovers. Although everyone knows that the leftover food sitting in the back of the refrigerator is not as tasty or appealing as when it first came out to us at the restaurant the day before. When American’s see that, they lose all their appeal to it and do not think they should eat it to finish the leftovers off. No, they think they should just throw it out because they will not enjoy the meal as much as they did when they first ordered it. In the article “What Leftovers? Many of us are Throwing the Feast Away” author of the article Georgina Gustin writes:

Stores, too, are part of the problem. With increasing competition in the grocery industry, stores are offering more options – which often leaves those options in the dumpster at the end of the day. Restaurants, in the race for customers, are also serving up jumbo portions, giving customers perceived value. While growing waistlines suggest people are eating more of those portions, the data also suggests we’re throwing more food away.”

Now that we know why we are wasting so much food, how much of that food is still edible and how much of the wasted food is because of carelessness and absentmindedness? Where is approximately one third of the planet’s 2.9 trillion pounds of food production going? About 25-40% of the food that goes through the growing, processing and transportation process in the united states will never be consumed by every day American’s. In the article “Food Waste in America” it states:

An estimated 25-40% of food grown, processed and transported in the U.S. will never be consumed. When food is disposed in a landfill it rots and becomes a significant source of methane – a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. More food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in municipal solid waste (MSW)

The earth produces enough food to comfortably feed everyone in the world twice a year. However, due to the fact so much is sent to America and then wasted or left to rot, other countries do not get the opportunity to eat. Because developing countries do not have the technology and storage technique we do in America to keep the food fresh, most if not all the fresh produce becomes rotten and unfit for consumption. People might ask, “well why do they not just eat the food that is rotten? It is not like they have much of a choice or anything.” If people in third world developing countries did eat the food, they could most likely come down with food poisoning that may be fatal if goes untreated, especially if they have a weak immune system to begin with. In the article “How ‘Ugly’ Fruits and Vegetables Can Help Solve World Hunger” it states:

Across cultures, food waste goes against the moral grain. After all, nearly 800 million people worldwide suffer from hunger. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, we squander enough food-globally, 2.9 trillion pounds a year-to feed every one of them more than twice over. Where’s all that food (about a third of the planet’s production) going? In developing nations much is lost post-harvest for lack of adequate storage facilities, good roads, and refrigeration. In comparison, developed nations waste more food farther down the supply chain, when retailers order, serve or display too much and when consumers ignore leftovers in the back of the fridge or toss perishables before they’ve expired.

Arguably the most impactful way of combating world hunger is to take action. We already know why we as a country are wasting food and how much of it is still good and why people of other countries are not getting food to live without hunger. We need to know how to end this global crisis. There are so many ways to work toward solving world hunger that the United Nations wants to have this fixed by 2030. The United Nations broke the cost of buying fresh food down to $160 a year for every person living in poverty. All together that would roughly add up to $267 million per year over 15 years. Considering that is such a small fraction of the GDP (gross domestic production). It is a small amount to pay to end world hunger. In the article “Here’s How We Can End Global Hunger in 15 Years” it states:

What would it take? Simply put, $160 per year for each person living in extreme poverty. That’s a really nice dinner for two in Brooklyn and less than an August air-conditioning bill. At the presentation of a report on hunger on hunger in July, Graziano da Silva said the total investment would total $267 billion per year over the next 15 years. “Given that this is more or less equivalent to 0.3 percent of the global GDP. I personally think it is a relatively small price to pay to end hunger.” He said.

There are many organizations American citizens could support to help end world hunger Feeding America is an organization dedicated to keeping people in America from going hungry. Their main focus is ending starvation in America with our 46 million hungry citizens. In 2015, they saved 2.6 billion pounds of the estimated annual wasted 70 billion pounds in America. That is more or less equal to 2 billion meals that were sent out to hungry people all over the United States. In a 2015 yearly progress report, Feeding America released a statement saying:

Each year the Feeding America network helps provide food to more than 46 million people facing hunger in the United States, Including 12 million children and 7 million seniors. Through 200-member food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, the Feeding America network series at 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Together we provide 3.7 billion meals directly to individuals and families in need.

While Feeding America is taking action in America, Stop Hunger Now is tackling hunger in all major countries. They have sent meals to over 73 countries including: Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, China, Malaysia, South Korea, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the united states. According to their website, since they started the organization in 1998, they have packaged a total of 263,493667 million meals for hungry people in mostly developing countries around the world. On Stop Hunger Now’s homepage, it stated this as some basic information about their organization:

Stop Hunger Now gets food and life saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable people and works to end global hunger in our lifetime. Established in 1998, we have provided over 225 million meals in 73 countries. We are based in Raleigh N.C. and operate throughout the U.S. and through affiliates in developing countries.

In conclusion, world hunger may be a catastrophic problem right now but with the knowledge w have acquired over the years through trial and error, we can hopefully end world hunger by not wasting and throwing out perfectly good food that could go to starving countries. We also need to know how much food the right amount is to buy that will comfortably sustain us without over buying and could potentially go to waste when we do not want it anymore. The United Nations wants this problem fixed by 2030. They would not set this date so close to our current time if they did not think that the world could not achieve this goal. Solving world hunger is a matter of figuring out where to send the food produced, keep it from spoiling and making sure everyone always has secure access to the food.

Cite this paper

America Will Not Share. (2022, Jun 08). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/america-will-not-share/



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