A recent USDA survey found Americans are wasting a disproportionate amount of meat, poultry and fish.

According to the survey, nearly one-third of all food available for consumption at retail and consumer levels – around 133 billion pounds - were wasted in 2010.

“Had farm-to-retail level losses been included, this estimate for the United States would be higher,” the USDA said.

On a per capita basis at the consumer level, the USDA estimates 290 pounds of food, valued at $371, went uneaten in 2010.

The reason behind food loss varies, ranging from transportation problems, animal or mold contamination, equipment malfunction, over-ordering, and dumping blemished produce. Consumers also play a roll, including tossing extra food that spoils before being consumed.  

In particular, researchers found some of the food groups were responsible for more waste than others:

  • Dairy, vegetables and gain products make up almost half of food lost at retail and consumer levels in terms of weight.
  • On a total value basis, meat, poultry and fish groups comprise 30 percent of the total.
  • To compare, meat, poultry and fish groups comprised of just 12 percent of food waste in terms of weight.

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