Jonathan Bloom, journalist and author of American Wasteland, talks about our growing food waste issue in the United States and what individual households can do to help fight it
At the recent international conference on food and nutrition in Milan, I sat down with Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland and a journalist and speaker on food waste in the United States. Bloom took part in the the Barilla International Forum on Food and Nutrition, where he was joined by four other internationally recognized specialists researching, writing about, and looking at waste around the world.
When did the food waste issues take root in the United States?
As the United States has gradually kept producing more food than it requires, we have got to the point now where we waste 40 percent of the food we produce for consumption. That is around $100 billion dollars a year. It became more of an issue after the Clinton administration left office. In the 1990s there was a national food recovery coordinator at the USDA, but that position was cut after Clinton left.
So food waste isn't really talked about in political circles?
No, not really. Most people in the U.S. don't perceive it as a problem. In Europe there is an EU goal to lower waste by 50 percent by the year 2020. So there are people at a high level taking this very seriously in Europe. Also in 2013 the EU will start a campaign called "A Year Against Waste." Slowly things are changing and it is encouraging.