Image: US Department of Agriculture

Are You Wasting Food?

By Roxanne Breard

Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 11:56 PM PDT

As an exchange student from France, some things have disturbed me since the beginning of my adventure here in the U.S.. One of these things is the waste, and especially the waste of food. I have noticed that people at the Dominican University cafeteria take so much food and almost never eat everything. They have many plates placed on top of another with still a slice of pizza or something else in each of them. This is why I decided to ask myself : Are they aware of the food they waste? Is that an “American thing”?

According to The Guardian UK, 50 percent of all produce in the U.S. is thrown away, which means some 60 million tons or $160 billion worth of produce annually. We can explain that with the “cult of perfection” cultivated in America. This is a cultural dynamic. This cult doesn’t seem to care about hunger and poverty in the world or think about how their waste may result in big damages on the environment.

According to USA Today, Americans think they waste less than their neighboring countries, which is inaccurate. This waste of food might be due to the fact that Americans spend less money on groceries than anyone else in the world. Food is cheaper in the United States.

There is also concerns for food safety. People prefer to throw food away than take a risk to eat it if the date is past on the product. They are afraid to be sick, but this date refers to the quality of the product, this is not about safety. Time Magazine reports that dates indicate the freshness of the product, which means that after these dates, the taste of the product can change, but will not make you sick.

From the perspective of one who is visiting from another country, American people need to be aware of their waste and change their consumption habits to reduce this waste. This is not a question of money or a question of safety, this is a question of ethic.