Photo © 2013 by Ian Barbour [CC BY-SA 2.0]
Millions of gallons of milk are wasted every year as described in this Los Angeles Times news article. However, it is not only milk, but 40% of all foods in the United States alone that go to waste. The included video has pegged this issue as the result of conflicting and arbitrary state – mandated labels on the produce that we consume. In fact, I myself and sometimes guilty of having thrown away some food items because they were past the expiration date – though because of my financial situation I usually only do this for the most ‘sketchy’ food items; the rest I tend to keep until spoiled (My mother has a ‘sixth sense’ for when something is on the verge of spoiling). While it is best to have a nationwide dating system in place to ensure the safety of consumers, I think it is an absolute travesty that we are wasting such an ungodly amount of food every day.
The sheer amount of produce that goes down the drain or into the dumpster, just because it violates a decades old label would be enough to feed thousands, if not millions of hungry Americans. If the food has truly spoiled, then by all means throw it away. However, if the date has passed but the food is still edible, if state laws prohibit the sale of said food, then they should at least permit the giving the food away to those who really need it. Sure, there might need to be a new entity established to monitor the state of the food and its distribution, but at least the food is going to help a fellow human being and not becoming more filler in our already overflowing dumps. There are constant cries about the kids in Africa, yet most don’t seem to bat an eye when it comes to the millions of Americans being neglected and not getting enough sustenance , all the while 40% of the country’s produce is being metaphorically thrown onto the streets.