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About 40 Percent Of All Food In The United States Is Thrown In The Garbage

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LandfillCould that headline actually be true?  Do Americans waste about 40 percent of all the food that we produce?  That sounds like an absolutely crazy number, but it is actually quite accurate according to a study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council.  What the NRDC discovered is that approximately 40 percent of our total food supply is either thrown into dumpsters by grocery stores, is discarded by restaurants, never gets harvested on our farms, or is thrown into the garbage by consumers in their homes.  Even though 47 million Americans are on food stamps and millions of children go to bed hungry in this country every single night, we continue to waste approximately 263 million pounds of food every single day of the year.  One day people will look back and regard us as probably the most wasteful society in the history of the planet.

So where does all of that food go?

Well, according to a recent Seattle Times article, “food waste” takes up more space in our landfills than anything else does…

Last year, the NRDC found that Americans throw out as much as 40 percent of the country’s food supply each year, adding up to $165 billion in losses.

Food waste makes up the largest portion of solid trash in landfills, according to researchers.

Some $900 million of expired food is dumped from the supply chain annually, much of it a result of confusion. Misinterpreted date labels cause the average American household of four to lose as much as $455 a year on squandered food, according to researchers.

The expired food that gets wasted is one of my personal pet peeves.

I don’t do this a lot, but today I am going to share a personal story with you.

Earlier today I was out running errands and I decided that I wanted to pick up some mini-cupcakes from Safeway that I just love.  I do try to eat a healthy diet, but I do also like a treat from time to time.  So I got over to Safeway, and I noticed that the only mini-cupcakes that they had out were ones with chocolate frosting, but I wanted ones with vanilla frosting.

So I went up to the bakery counter and there was nobody there, but behind the counter I saw a stack of several containers of vanilla cupcakes.  I waited until the bakery lady got back and I asked her if I could have them.

I was astounded when she very firmly told me that I could not buy them.

She said that it was against regulations.

I implored her to sell them to me.  I explained that I had come over to Safeway just to buy them and I didn’t care if they were a little old.

Again she very firmly told me that I could not buy them.

I could not understand this.  I knew that the cupcakes were just going to be thrown out, so I asked to speak to her manager.

After a few moments her manager came over and I was once again told very firmly that under no circumstances would I be able to buy the cupcakes.

So needless to say, I left the store with a sad look on my face and without any cupcakes.

Now of course I probably didn’t need the cupcakes anyway.  They are not healthy for me.  But big chains such as Safeway throw away massive amounts of very good food as well.  The level of the waste that goes on is absolutely astounding.

Meanwhile, the number of Americans that are dealing with hunger and malnutrition grows with each passing day.  I want to share with you an excerpt from a recent article authored by Jason Ford entitled “I Work On The Breadline“…

I work as a cashier at a nationally known discount store. I sell clothing, cleaning products, house wares and food. The people I sell to are people of all colors, races, ages and sex, but most of them have one thing in common; EBT cards. I would say about half of every transaction I do is paid for with an EBT card. Sometimes people will use three different methods of payment. They will use whatever is left on their EBT card, then use whatever is left on their debit card, and then scrape their purse to find the remaining balance, and sometimes they still don’t have enough.

Another common trait of the people I serve besides the poverty is the poor health. The food I sell is not healthy, by any stretch. I sell potato chips, candy bars, bread, canned food, ice cream, soda, packaged meat, cigarettes and alcohol. I noticed quickly that a common ingredient of most of the foods is sugar and grains. Sugar and grains are easy to grow and produce cheaply and are used as fillers in processed food to cut cost and mask the taste of other questionable ingredients. Grains work in conjunction with sugars to inflame the body and compromise the immune system. Grains and sugars also have no nutritional value besides calories, so on top of inflaming the body; they do not provide the sustenance the body needs to survive. As the functions of the body require these nutrients the diet lacks, the body sucks these minerals from the bones, teeth and brain. Bone loss, and tooth decay and decreased brain function are the unfortunate symptoms of malnutrition. The poorest of the customers I serve are also the sickest. I have witnessed toothless mouths in the young and old. Mental retardation is also a common trait among many of them. I have even witnessed one unfortunate woman whose skin was a pale green color. These people are dying a slow starvation and they don’t even know it.

Doesn’t that just break your heart?

People are living like that, and yet America discards 263 million pounds of food every single day.

Something is fundamentally wrong with the way our system works.

So what is society going to do as the number of hungry people continues to grow in this country and around the world?

Well, according to ABC News, some scientists plan to feed them with flour made out of bugs…

A team of MBA students were the recipients of the 2013 Hult Prize earlier this week, providing them with $1 million in seed money to produce an insect-based, protein-rich flour for feeding malnourished populations in other countries. The product is called Power Flour.

“It’s a huge deal because we had a very ambitious but highly executable five-year plan in place,” said team captain Mohammed Ashour, whose team hails from McGill University in Montreal. “So winning this prize is a great step in that direction.”

Ashour, along with teammates Shobhita Soor, Jesse Pearlstein, Zev Thompson and Gabe Mott, will be immediately working with an advisory board to recruit farmers and workers in Mexico, where a population of roughly 4 million live in slum conditions with widespread malnutrition.

“We will be starting with grasshoppers,” Ashour said.

Are you ready for a “protein-rich flour” made out of grasshoppers?

I know that I am not.

And in Japan, scientists have actually been working on a way to create meat out of poop.  You can read more about that right here.

Perhaps if we just quit wasting so much food we would be able to feed everybody without resorting to such craziness.

These days, an increasing number of Americans are fighting back against the colossal waste that they see all around them.  Some have even chosen to take advantage of the waste by regularly going “dumpster diving”.  The following is how I described “dumpster diving” in one of my previous articles

Have you ever thought about getting your food out of a trash can?  Don’t laugh.  Dumpster diving has become a hot new trend in America.  In fact, dumpster divers even have a trendy new name.  They call themselves “freegans”, and as the economy crumbles their numbers are multiplying.  Many freegans consider dumpster diving to be a great way to save money on groceries.  Others do it because they want to live more simply.  Freegans that are concerned about the environment view dumpster diving as a great way to “recycle” and other politically-minded freegans consider dumpster diving to be a form of political protest.  But whatever you want to call it, the reality is that thousands upon thousands of Americans will break out their boots, rubber gloves and flashlights and will be jumping into dumpsters looking for food once again tonight.

Who knows – perhaps some enterprising young dumpster diver will end up fishing the vanilla cupcakes that I wanted out of Safeway’s dumpsters this evening.

It is amazing what some of these dumpster divers are able to recover from “the trash”.  In North Carolina, one man even takes his son dumpster diving with him

A programmer by day, Todd takes to the streets of North Carolina by night, digging through Dumpsters at drug stores and grocery stores all around his rural neighborhood.

“You would be simply amazed at what businesses throw out,” he said. “I’ve only had to buy two loaves of bread all year. … Last week I had a trunk full of cereal, cookies, chips and ramen noodles.”

Todd slinks in and out of smelly places with low-light flashlights to evade rent-a-cops who will shoo him away.  Most nights, his 14-year-old son comes along.

Unfortunately, dumpster diving is not as easy as it used to be.

As dumpster diving has soared in popularity, some grocery stores have responded by putting locks on their dumpsters.

And in some areas of the country, police have even started regularly arresting dumpster divers.

But in the end, dumpster diving was not going to be a permanent solution anyway.

A permanent solution would be to quit wasting so much food.

I applaud the grocery store chains that choose to donate their expired food to homeless shelters and food banks.

We need to see a lot more of that going on.

And in our own homes we need to find ways to give more food away and waste less of it.

All of this needless wasting of food does not have to happen.  Let’s work together to find some solutions.

  • RarefiedSnotress

    A man and his mini-cupcakes.. refreshing.
    While it’s great that some expired foods are making it to homeless shelters and foodbank, I have my doubts that enough does.
    Personally, I would like to see peanut flour on the shelves at Walmart. There’s so much grain and not enough use of legumes out there. Cheap and nutritious, it would help create the legume-grain complete proteins for those who don’t tend to get meat in their diet. To hell with bug flour.

    • post of longing

      One question, why are you shopping at walmart?

    • Hambone

      The majority of the world eats bugs in some form or fashion. The US is one of the few countries that doesn’t. Insects are actually typically more nutritious than the plants they consume, making spraying for insects kind of ironic.

      And no, I don’t eat them. I mean, YUCK.

      Boycott Wal Mart.

  • markthetruth

    Produce and Fish are the most thrown out foods. Produce because it damages easy and the shelf life is short the same with the fresh fish .

    the end..

  • Jodi

    Yes, we need to watch our waste but Perhaps the senate can use some of that 5 million spent on haircuts to help the poor. Just maybe I’ll have a little more respect for them.

    • Tim

      Yeah. The federal government is the biggest waster of all!

  • Jimbo

    People don’t plan like they used to. They push their cart around the supermarket and pile it high. Leftovers end up in the garbage.
    When I was a kid, soup was made using stock boiled from leftover bones and cooking fat came from the roasting pan. Even stale bread was used to make bread pudding (if you have never tried it, you haven’t lived).

    If you plan properly then nothing should get thrown away.

    • Rodster

      My mom use to make bread pudding. I wasn’t a big fan of it or rice pudding. I’ve learned not to throw food away.

      • Moe H

        True. My grandmother who lived through the depression made the best rice and bread pudding. She would strip the T-day turkey down and make a bunch of meals with that – turkey-rice soup, etc. She also made clothes, drapes, blankets, etc. Amazing what people could do before all of these electronics that engross our lives.

        • Jimbo

          Turkey soup is divine and easy to make after Christmas Dinner is done with. Also, making real stock from any bones is worth the effort. Real stock is like freshly roasted coffee compared to instant coffee.

      • Jimbo

        There are a lot of recipes for bread pudding but stale bread is the main ingredient. The secret is the spice and fruit mixture that you add in. I have tried different recipes and some are foul so maybe you should give it another go.

    • Ralfine

      We don’t have stale bread in the first place.

      We freeze slized bread in portions after buying it. Then only take out as much as is needed for two days.

      But that is a concession to my partner. He doesn’t like a hard crust or hard bread. I grew up to enjoy the crunchy crust of the freesh bread and the firmness of 3 day old bread, which we stored in the breadbasket.
      But nowadays we only buy this soft toast stuff filled with preservatives that keeps a while.

      When I was a kid the old bread was air-dried and kept in a net and either given to grandpa for his chickens and rabbits, or put into water and then squeezed to mix into hamburgers. Or if too hard to eat but not het stone-hard, my mom fried bread slices in butter and served them with syrup.

      I still enjoy soup made from bones.

      In China I’d buy a chicken carcass, and for some more gelatine some chicken feet, add some leftover pork bones, and goat bones. And then cook for hours. Add some chicken hearts and gizzards and celery and carrots and onions and winter melon or green papaya. And you get a warm winter soup for a few days – if you can resist and not eat everything at once.

      In England I go to butchers to get my bones. Can’t get bones at Tesco.

      Same for fish head. Learned to eat and enjoy fish head in China. Here, people throw fish head away, only want to buy fish fillet. So you get a perfect fish head with an inch of shoulder attached for 50p to a pound, if you ask the fish monger for it.

      1 fish head, some oil, pepper, salt, lots of water, an onion, bay leaves and two or three chillies, add some fresh herbs, if you like – parsley, coriander, dill, fennel, cilantro, whatever you have on your window sill or in the cold frame.
      Gets you a perfect soup for two that leaves you filled for hours. Leftover: a few bones and fish teeth.

      Add some rice or jacket potatoes.

      • Jimbo

        I lived in China for a while and they throw nothing away when it comes to food. It used to be like that in the UK years ago (maybe not the chicken feet though).

        I freeze bread as well but when I was kid we didn’t have a freezer so you couldn’t just buy stuff that you might use one day. You had to plan a bit.
        One of my favourite meals was Bubble and Squeak made with leftover green veggies and boiled potato and fried in a pan. I still make it now and the kids love it (I use olive oil rather than beef dripping now though).

        They actually sell bubble and squeak in the freezer section of my local supermarket. Ironic.

    • markthetruth

      Because of the new Society, being a family a six no one has the time to sit Down to Eat . The kids have activities at school , sports and they go to a Friends house , the wife and i never know when were getting home so everyone eats there own things and when they want. The wife doesn’t have time to cook as she works 7 Days a week. What ever the kids make , microwave, stove, or oven most often the food is left out and goes bad.

      ” There is no way to plan in our Hectic Schedules .”

      the end…

  • northerconservative

    Free advice….garden, then can your own food. Let’s also not pedal the I don’t have time excuse. Youve gotta eat so get off your laurels and LEARN HOW. Its not that difficult. Then you will waste a lot less because you worked so hard to make it.

    • jaxon64

      I canned 6 quarts of tomatoes last night. A cooler summer caused just the few plants I grew to produce tons of green tomatoes which finally all seemed to ripen at once. I had my kitchen island counter covered with squash, bell peppers and tomatoes.
      The peppers are easy–simply crack them, shake out the seeds and into a big gallon freezer bag which I dip into all winter.
      The squash I blanch, cool in ice water and packed 8 quart ziplocks of squash for meals.
      The tomatoes are canned because it is so easy since the pressure cooker isn’t needed for high acid veggies….anything else I take to work and the nurses practically fight over the fresh, natural grown produce.

      • northerconservative

        Love it!

    • Hambone

      That’s good advice on at least five levels… health/nutrition, economic, civic responsibility, taste (food quality) and of course insulation from an economic callamity (not that such a thing could possibly happen with this amazing president we have).

      And it’s actually quite fun.

    • nekksys


  • Rodster

    My wife told me to take out the garbage. I told her you cooked it, you take it out.

    – Rodney Dangerfield

  • Rodster

    Michael, you failed to mention that one of the primary reasons for businesses throwing out perfectly good food is the result of excessive Govt regulations regarding food safety.

    • Hambone

      Absolutely… exactly what I was about to say. Those businesses draw a hard line because they will be punished severely if they try to sell (or give) that food away — maybe even lose their license to sell. I’m quite sure the government wastes its money to pay people to try to entrap the businesses also.

    • mleblanc138

      You mean the same government that freely allows Monsanto to poison us all with GMOs? Where’s the “regulations” against Monsanto? Oh right, they’re friends with the government and friends of the government always win.

      • Ralfine

        Fraudsters and cheaters enjoy free enterprise, too.

        And didn’t god give you guns to protect yourself against the government?

      • markthetruth

        Might be true, but Why let everyone Poison us and if they can sell us bad beef then when people get sick and Die they complain and sue .

        Another Catch 22

        the end…

      • Hambone

        Monsanto is universally hated by conservatives and liberals alike, albeit for different reasons — that may be the one thing we can agree on. Unfortunately, they are in the back pockets of Congress on both sides.

    • Ralfine

      Food safety?

      Well, if I had to throw out food regularly, I would start buying less.
      Or reduce the price.

      If people in the restaurant would leave food regularly on the plate, I’d put less on each plate in the first place.

      Offer the option of smaller portions at a lower price.

      If the food is rotten in the store because of long transport, maybe it’s time to source more locally.

      And the other question is: why are government regulations so stringent? Maybe it’s time to let the congress talk more about food safety than blocking healthcare, gay marriage and attacking other countries?

      • Orange Jean

        There’s that too (the long transport)… comes in part from stores using “fresh” produce from other countries, usually picked before its ripe, shipped across the ocean, and in the US transported by truck or rail across country before you even get it to the store. Any wonder it’s a crap shot whether or not the food is rotten when it gets to the store… or the types of produce they choose to sell is tasteless?

        One of my cousins used to do cross country truck driving and said he would pick up a shipment of totally hard green tomatoes (or worse, ones that look red but are hard as a rock and totally tasteless), they may be held in storage also for days before they get hauled across the country which takes on average 2.5-3 days.

        I greatly prefer locally produced food, or when possible what I can grown myself (limited, alas)… but it’s not always possible to come by.

        And I recently threw out some beef, which I had been defrosting in the fridge and a week later it still smelled “fresh” – I suspect it had been treated with infrared to delay spoilage, but I doubt there was any nutritional value left and I was too suspicious of the fact it had no signs of spoiling after that long…. and did not trust it to be safe to eat.

        • Ralfine

          I try to buy seasonal food on the market.

          Now the time for leeks and roots is coming.

          Pumpkin and okra and bitter melon. Take a handful of each, add one small steak cut in stripes, and the usual base of onions, garlic, chilli, tomato, salt and pepper, and whatever else you like. Make sure to fry and cook everything in the right order to get the veggies “al dente” and the meat healthy.

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

      Very good point. 🙂


  • saintmatty

    That percentage seems low to me.

  • K

    Great article, had no idea it was that high of a percentage. Happy to say all the major grocery chains in this area, work with second harvest. As well as some of the smaller food banks. As to eating bugs, we already do. Lobster, crabs and shrimp, are basically sea bugs.

    • Hope

      Not only that but they are bottom feeders who eat GARBAGE (and decomposing bodies as well). You are what you eat!

  • markthetruth

    Why do you think the Rats are so big in New York City !

    the end…

  • markthetruth

    Restaurants offer all you can eat specials, the last dish everyone gets is probably thrown in the garbage because they can’t finish it . Ever watch MasterChef or Kitchen Nightmares he throws half the food in the garbage.

    the end…

  • ren

    Be careful about dumpster diving-I worked for a place once that poured ammonia or bleach on everything that went into the dumpster. Newly out of date OTC drugs were opened, poured into bags and treated the same. It’s horribly wasteful, but it would be even more horrible for someone to ingest a chemical that would make them sick or die.

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

      Why would a store go to so much trouble just to keep people away from their garbage?


      • ren

        It came down from our corporate office in memo, and my boss started making us follow the rule. The tale was that even though it was in the garbage, the company could still be sued if someone got sick from the items being thrown in the dumpster. I personally think it came down to money and sales-if people got things out of the dumpsters they could use, then the store was out of a sale for the same item in date and in stock. =(

  • Dr. Dave

    The irony in this article is that your cupcakes will do to your body exactly what Jason Ford is warning about. Stay away from sugars and grains or you will lose your mind and your body, skyrocket your cancer risks, along with chronic fatigue, arthritis, diabetes, asthma, obesity, psoriasis, kidney failure, liver disease, and the list goes on and on. You end up like this:

    Sugar and grains are easy to grow and produce cheaply and are used as fillers in processed food to cut cost and mask the taste of other questionable ingredients. Grains work in conjunction with sugars to inflame the body and compromise the immune system. Grains and sugars also have no nutritional value besides calories, so on top of inflaming the body; they do not provide the sustenance the body needs to survive. As the functions of the body require these nutrients the diet lacks, the body sucks these minerals from the bones, teeth and brain. Bone loss, and tooth decay and decreased brain function are the unfortunate symptoms of malnutrition.

    • Ralfine

      Grains are cereals?

      So they are basically seeds, from which new plants take all their initial nutrients to grow?

      Grains have their place in the food chain. Many birds only eat seeds, so do beetles and ants. And ants can carry multiples of their own bodyweight back to their nest.

      Pigs are nowadays only fed grains to keep foot and mouth disease away.

      What you don’t want are stripped grains. Grains only with their starch left, with all proteins and minerals stripped away.

      You can get a full meal with a cup of oatmeal cooked in a cup of milk. Contains proteins, and minerals, and vitamins. Add a few fruits and green veggies and legumes and some pints of water and you are done for the day.

      Well, drink the water before you do the eating and all over the day whenever you feel hungry or the need for a cigarette.

      And it’s not even expensive. Only need 1 pot for cooking the oat meal and later the veggies (can’t eat beans raw).

      Can put the cuttings onto the compost.

      And if you go out, being away from home for the day, make yourself some sandwiches. Add a hardboiled egg, some green stuff, maybe a slice or two of air dried italian or german ham.

      The ham and egg sandwich has the nutrients more concentrated and easier to handle than the chicken soup. Especiallly when you are out shopping or working. A sandwich will be gone in less than 5 minutes. No need to wait for waiters or cashiers or queues.

      Add a banana or an apple, fill your water bottle at home from the tap. Now even restaurants give you tap water for nothing if you ask for it.

      Whenever you have a chance to go to Germany, try their stinking cheese, which is basically rotten milk.

      (Don’t try this at home if you don’t know how, you could end up with listeria poisoning)

      • Jimbo

        I only eat wholegrain breads and bake with wholegrain flour. It is nothing to do with health to be honest. I just prefer my food to taste of something. White bread tastes of nothing at all and I can’t see the point in it.

        • uh-huh

          Have you noticed too when you bite a piece of commercial white bread, you have to to peel the gluey pieces off the front of your teeth…yuck!

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

      Yes Dr. Dave, I know that cupcakes are bad for me. But everyone needs a treat once in a while. 🙂


  • Bill

    Let’s get back to POTUS lies, the debt ceiling, the truckers’ strike, and today’s oddity–the stock market had a modest gain on the first day of the shutdown. The market used to be a barometer of the economy but today it lies too.

  • Kim

    As it should be. More than 40% of what is fed to us, or offered to us, IS garbage.

    • Jim Davis

      Exactly. A lot of that process, refined junk won’t even decay after being sent to the landfill. But it’s better off there instead of someone’s stomach.

    • Hammerstrike

      Hit the nail on the head there!

      • Kim

        I have a few favorite restraraunts around these parts and I’ve noticed a decline in the quality of food, especially meat. I stick with mostly veggies now, but that isn’t even a sure bet. I did go pick some morels recently- they were wonderful!!!!

    • Orange Jean

      Agreed! At my closest market, named “Farm Fresh” I dub it “Farm Rotten”… since I’ve seen many a furry vegetable or piece of in the “fresh” food section. Those stupid sprinklers they use don’t help!

      I’ve complained, they make excuses and take care of it for the time being.. but I’ve learned when I have to shop there to be very careful on what I select.

  • freethedacks

    Grocery stores throw away tons of edible food just because some arbitrary date. It’s deemed “unsafe” and destroyed by throwing it into the dumpster to rot. It could have gone to the food pantry’s or soup kitchens, but no.

  • Hambone

    There is a place in Fort Worth, TX called “town talk” that sells nearly expired groceries for pennies on the dollar. Chains will typically liquidate their goods well in advance of the expiration date, and this place scoops up everything it can. When I lived in the metroplex, I made weekly pilgrimages to Town Talk. Here in Indiana, we have a bread store that sells expired bread, 10 loaves for $1.05. They make you sign a paper saying “for animal feed only.” Now that’s smart thinking! You bet I eat it.

  • Roches

    In SW Missouri we have a grocery chain called “Shelters” that sells a lot of expired foods and surplus. It’s all perfectly good at a fraction of the price. To throw away food or to waste Gods resources is a sin. What a sad state of affairs…

  • mleblanc138

    “I applaud the grocery store chains that choose to donate their expired food to homeless shelters and food banks.”

    As do I, but watch the bureaucrats come in and make that illegal. That actually happened down in Georgia when the cops told the grocery store that they had to throw away the food.

  • Ralfine

    I think, one of the main issues is education.

    When I was in primary school, we had a school garden. And learning how to grow plants and tend for the garden was part of the curriculum in the first 4 years.

    And each class had their own little bed of veggies and herbs to grow. The produce ended up in the school canteen.

    Much later I lived in a city housing 6-10 million people, We lived in a high rise building up in the 25th floor. But we still had tomato plants and basil on the balcony. And I experimented with composting plant cuttings in a mini compost bin on the balcony.
    And seedlings of any kind of fruits and veggies we got in the market. It’s fun.

    Had to give away a lot of citrus plants and avocado and mango trees when they got too big and when we left that country.

    Needless to say, we don’t buy cut flowers. We give pots with self-grown trees and herbs as gifts.

    • Ralfine

      What I wanted to say when I started above post: cooking istn’t just a chore. It is fun and creative. It lets you experiment with different kind of combinations. Cheap food with a sprinkle of self-grown herbs (instead of that maggi sauce).

      And if you just sit home you have all the time you need to experiment. For yourself, for fun, for your kids, for your loved ones.

      Food carving is a job. Get a knife, and start carving anything from apples, carrots, etc. experiment with foods of different colors.
      Important: eat the leftovers.

      And when you are finally good, sell your skill to the highest bidder.

      Cooking just goes the same way.

      Don’t just throw everything into a pot and overcook it until it is mush.

      Lots of food can be eaten raw, experiment with cooking times and cooking sizes. If you cut veggies in small sizes you only need to cook it for 2 or 3 minutes until it reaches that thin edge between cracking raw and mushed overcooked.

      The same for meat. 1/2 inch meat cubes are cooked through in minutes. (With all that processed meat and food diseases around I wouldn’t eat raw meat anymore)

      Cook things separately and mix them at serving time or at any time during the cooking process.

      Try mixing different things. Different shapes, different colors, different tastes. Can you mix orange with onion in a beef stew?

      Write down !!! what you have done, what you expected and what came as a result.
      What tastes good, what interesting, what became an utter disaster.
      (If it isn’t burnt, you most likely can still eat your disaster, but you won’t try this again.)

      And with time you become a proficient cook and can whip up a tasty meal from nothing whenever you get an unexpected visitor.

      • Jimbo

        I used to deliver newspapers in England when I was a child and the smells coming from the different houses were amazing. Freshly cooked food has a distinct aroma compared to processed garbage. Fresh garlic beats that minced crap from a tube anyday.
        I was shelling peas last Sunday and one of my daughters friends asked me what I was doing. She didn’t realise that peas came in pods. She was even more amazed when I showed her the peas and runner beans in the garden.

        • Ralfine

          I was amazed, too, when Chinese eat the pods and the pea leaves.

          I told my mom about the chicken feet. And then I was amazed when she told me that they used to eat them too, after the war.

          My grandpa used to raise chickens and rabbits. And my dad pigeons – for racing and eating.

          I knew about intestines used for sausages, but the chinese use intestines as part of meals. Separate dishes of anything and everything, of which intestines and boiled blood are the more civilized dishes.

          My Chinese friend says about western food: steak and potato and soggy veggies. Nothing exciting.

          He showed me how to steam fresh carp in 10 minutes.

          Last time I went to China I had morning tea with another friend – paid 12 yuan for the two of us. Flat rice pasta rolled with some soy sauce and congee with dried shrimps and tea.
          Early morning in a touristless neighborhood, siting on some very cheap and old school chairs in a drive way across the street from a soup kitchen.

          50 meters besides the smelly “river”.

          I miss the life of a rich foreigner in China.

      • Orange Jean

        I love cooking what I call “peasant food”… pretty much what you’re talking about.

        I once had a party where I fed about 20 people with a total of 1 cabbage, a small can of sauerkraut, a small container of sour cream slightly watered down with a tablespoon of mil, 1 load of pumpernickel bread, and an onion. At the time (in the 70s) cost to me was $2, and everyone loved the food I made (that was a type of Polish soup called kapusta and a type of “fast food” my family ate we called black bread and sour cream.

        • Ralfine

          Kapusta is Polish or Russian for white cabbage.

          It is also a nick name for boys with white-blonde hair.

          Another fast food I like is (cold) quark mixed with onions or spring onions and (hot) jacket potatos and a dollop of butter.

  • Sandbagger

    When I was a kid, there was no labeling of food with dates. If you had a can of chili that wasn’t bulging, it was good to eat.

    Google Trader Joe’s Ex-President to Sell Expired Food to read about the market he’s opening. Perhaps we’ll see more of these in the future.

    I saw on tv recently that there’s a grocery auction someplace in the U.S. that specializes in auctioning off expired food. Some of it “very expired” even.

    Another question about the lack of food: Why does the government pay farmers NOT to farm? Is it solely in order not to deplete the soil? It seems a waste of farmland to me.

    • Jimbo

      They pay farmers in Europe not to farm so that prices stay up and surplus is avoided. Meanwhile half the world is starving. It is bloody obscene.

      • Sandbagger

        Just think if all farmers could farm to feed the world with no repercussions from their corrupt government fat-cats!

        I’m also saddened by food aid that sits on docks to rot or else is gobbled up by those who seek to control their people through food scarcity.

        • Jimbo

          Food is a powerful weapon and those who control food control the world. Money is a proxy for food. If a population is hungry it revolts. If a population is fed it becomes subservient. If a population is never hungry it becomes complacent.

          If a population can feed itself it becomes independent.
          If an individual can feed himself he is free.

  • Mal Reynolds

    NRDC is a Liberal advocacy group … their facts and figures are not to be trusted … note the strong emphasis on the corporate food waste. No mention of this being lawsuit driven. Food banks do not want expired food same reason. Locking the dumpsters to keep the divers out … lawsuits. I rest my case.

    • ian

      um….see my above post. Conservatives and tea partier would be the very last people to salvage wasted food. The anarchists and the occupiers are the ones pilfering this wasted food and distributing it, while the conservative nutjobs are calling them trash and/or lazy liberal commies. nuff said. so enough with the liberal bashing.

  • Orange Jean

    Personally, I think one of the problems is those sprinklers they use in the grocery stores to spray water on the produce every few minutes… I HATE those things!

    Putting water on your produce for days before the customer buys it means… its much more likely the produce will rot in the refrigerator shortly after the customer brings the food home. Recently I had 2 containers of lettuce and one of spinach mostly rotten within 2 days of purchase.

  • Deb

    I work for a well known preschool/daycare facility. We are part of a government program that has meals that are subsidized for qualifying families. I manage and run the kitchen but am not allowed to save any unused food or liquid milk. It is all supposed to be thrown away. I have a very hard time doing this. Our milk comes in shelf stable containers that has a shelf life of 1 year. I do save the unopened cartons of milk and take them to a local food pantry and several families that I know can use them. It doesn’t make any sense to me. And I’m more than happy to take a little time to pass something on to someone that needs it.

  • Shanna

    Where I live an organizaton got several grocery stores to give them they’re expiring food from meat, to cereal, to bakery items & etc…. We get some of these donated products in our church food pantry & the rest goes to other various food programs. It’s a win win situation b/c it stays out of the garbage bins & hungry people end of with the food. It ends up every week being thousands of lbs of food that they give away. It’s crazy what would be thrown away b/c there is nothing wrong with any of the food that we get other than it’s about to be expired. Let me tell you the people we serve do not care where it comes from or that it’s about expired. They’re hungry & our lines are getting longer by the month it seems.
    My daughter runs a well known gas station & she is not allowed to donate any of their food, packaged or unpackaged, it all goes in the dumpster. It makes her sick to do this especially when she has hungry people ask her what she’s going to do with it. They try and get her to give it to them when they find she’s just going to throw it away but she can’t or she’ll be fired she tells them.
    After she throws the food away she has seen them going thru her dumpster for it. She usually ends up turning a blind eye most of the time to it b/c a lot of these people tell her they have kids that are hungry. If they make a mess that’s when she gets onto them. It breaks her heart to see this & makes her appreciate what she does have.

  • DJohn1

    We do not make the rules by which the groceries and restaurants are forced to operate under. Some of those rules do seem wasteful. Until someone gets food poisoning . . . then everyone gets very cautious.

    I never even liked vegetables as a kid. Until I was in England one summer and Grandfather picked some peas our of his garden. I never tasted vegetables that fresh. They actually had nutrition in them. He also had many other things in the garden. Tomatoes that tasted like real tomatoes should taste. Green Beans that actually tasted good. All of this was put together in the kitchen with Grandmother cooking everything.
    I never looked at vegetables the same again. The grocery variety isn’t anywhere near as good as fresh home grown vegetables.
    In this country things seem a lot wilder than in England. The insect population seems different.
    Insects eat plants. Our vegetables are laced with poisons for that reason. So everything has to be thoroughly washed to be eatable.
    I believe we have taken the predatory creatures out of the environment leaving the voracious appetites of the other creaturs to eat the leaves and plants we plant.
    I was happy to see a garden snake inhabiting my garden area. This year the predatory Praying Mantis has been coming back. They eat small insects and mice.
    Commercial farming goes by a whole different set of rules. Our Cattle are fed corn in a closed stall and then slaughtered. All of this effects the food and how our bodies work in relationship to it and not in a good way.
    Those Genetically Modified Foods are going to cause a lot of problems some where down the road. But by then it might be too late to do anything about it.
    Cancer raises its ugly head way too often and I think it can be traced back to these foods.

  • condaggitt

    I see this everyday here in NYC….one One store marks down food like 50% 2 or 3 days before the expiration date then to 99cents a lb for prime chicken breast, or sausages even hamburger Ive gotten for 99 cents a pound…$6.00 felafel balls 99 cents….on the last day….I cant tell you how great it is to find a meat manger who’d rather sell the food then throw it out at full price

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

      I will second that.


  • Weeping Eagle

    “millions of children go to bed hungry in this country every single night”. That fact I find very hard to believe. Not with this many food stamps. Not with this many soup kitchens and churches. Tell me a few hundred, maybe a couple thousand…but millions?

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

      We have more than a million public school students that are homeless right now according to federal government statistics.


  • robert

    It is true and it is a sin.

  • KRen

    Mr. Mike I hope your article hits home to many people, food is thrown away like trash, people won’t even eat left overs. When I was going up we would of. Loved the food people waste today, in those days there was no welfare. We went hunger sometimes, I watch people buy mounds of junk with their EBT card they do not want to cook, one day and very soon if you have noticed and kept up with the extreme changes happening on earth you will wake up one day with less food and you will remember the the times you tossed good food into the trash.

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

      Throwing good food in the trash is one of my pet peeves. Great comment.


  • ian

    on the other hand, if we started handing out that food, most people on this site would cry ‘socialism’ or call those who hand it out ‘liberal commies’. Or something to that effect.

    (i know this as my friends in florida were dumpster divers and tea partiers heckled them and told them to ‘get a job’ and called them commie lazy low lives)

  • rat28

    Your article is very true.. In my workplace, breakfast and lunch are ordered in if there is a meeting..More than 1/2 are thrown away after the session is over. It is impossible for me to believe the USA is anywhere near collapse. The USA is still the most prosperous country compare to where I come from when we have to go to bed hungry.

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

      That is so sad. Why are people so wasteful?


  • jc2rcdc1

    Amen Rodster! I was just going to say the same thing. If you want to stop waste, curb the abuse of government regulations.

  • chris

    And then include in your calculations the fact that Americans and Westerners in general appear to be still eating far more than they actually need to as evidenced by the levels of obesity…

  • 2Gary2

    Michael–why do you think the more socialist countries of Scandinavia consistently beat the USA in almost every measure? There was a happiness study released that again showed that the happiest countries are the most socialist.

    • Tobias Smith

      probably because they don’t have aholes like you living there

      • 2Gary2

        ok hoss

  • Eric W.

    If that 40 percent is or mostly GMO, we’re doing ourselves a favor.

  • Rene Girrard

    I’m very disappointed you did not allow my post. It was very releveant to your discussion. The 2 links I tried to post were also very relevant to your topic. One link showed the good food that ministries give via the food bank. The other link showed the hundreds of non-profits and church ministries that receive food from the food bank right here in Ft. Worth, TX. Maybe I will at least be allowed to post this.

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

      Your post automatically got sent to the moderation que because it had links in it. A couple of times per day I review all of the posts in the moderation que and I approve the vast majority of them. 🙂



    grabage in garbAGE OUT

  • TtT Engine

    Why would a “GREEN” nation that destroys 4,000 of its most cherished natural resources per day [i.e. human babies] think twice about wasting tons of precious food that could be going to TRULY needy people ? TAX, BORROW, PRINT, SPEND, AND GROW government is the game plan. Waste is a non issue for lefties. We crack eggs when we make omelets. HELLO->Czar/Emperor Non negotiator except if your name is Rouhani-> the unilateral raising of the debt ceiling boys and girls=Dictatorship. Christi Fidelis !

  • hexzerg

    It is aganist the LAW to donate expired food to food banks and homeless shelters. The government will come so fast they won’t even hear it coming. The problem is the expiration date laws. We have our senses to help us determine if food is bad or not. My great grandfather lived before expiration dates and was able to survive until he was in his 80s. It is the government that is encouraging us to waste food with these expiration dating laws.

  • Joe

    I go dumpster diving very regularly. I find great food, lots of good fruits and vegetables. My wife has grown to expect it. We probably save $400 a month. And we are able to afford expensive fish, since we get a lot of regular consumables for free.

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  • David MacKenzie

    The people need to take some responsibility for the litigious atmosphere that has enabled all the regulation. After all, if a country is a place where companies can be sued for making their coffee hot, it’s not surprising that companies would throw out food LONG before it becomes, technically, inedible.

  • Jean Bush

    I’m on a screaming budget so sometimes buy chicken hearts & gizzards at around $2 for 2lbs; cook them 40 min in my pressure cooker, bread them, fry up in a pan, serve over rice with gravy.

    There’s a lot of cheap meat out there that most people don’t know how to cook.

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