A study by an Agricultural Research Service team and university scientists found that U.S. consumers waste a pound of food per person a day, or about a third of the daily calories that each American consumes.  Interestingly, fruits and vegetables – key components of a high-quality diet – were the most wasted food items, the team determined from their analysis of eight years of available food survey data. The study was conducted by nutritionists with ARS Grand Forks (North Dakota) Human Nutrition Research Center, together with scientists from the University of Vermont and University of New Hampshire, and published in the journal PLOS ONE. Using a powerful computing tool known as the U.S. Foodprint Model, the team determined that from 2007 to 2014, U.S. consumers discarded 150,000 tons of food daily – waste that corresponded to the yearly use of an estimated 30 million acres of land (7 percent of total U.S. harvested cropland), 780 million pounds of pesticide, 1.8 billion pounds of nitrogen fertilizer and 4.2 trillion gallons of irrigated water. This all represents potential costs to the environment and the farmers who dedicate their time, land and other resources to growing or raising food that’s meant to be eaten, the researchers said.

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