CHICAGO – More than one-third of food produced in the United States goes uneaten – contributing to problems ranging from hunger and malnutrition to environmental and economic concerns. Registered dietitian nutritionists are uniquely qualified to help reduce food loss and waste by individuals, families, communities, business and industry, according to a new report funded by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation.
The report, “The State of America’s Wasted Food & Opportunities to Make a Difference” is available on the Academy Foundation’s website. A version of the report is also available on the website of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in advance of publication in the printed Journal later this year.
In a foreword to the report, the Academy’s President, registered dietitian nutritionist Dr. Evelyn F. Crayton, writes: “From the farm through the production and distribution process to the grocery store to the home – wherever there is food, there is unfortunately food waste. As Academy members, we have no higher duty than to help everyone create and maintain their nutritional health. This includes wise production strategies and a commitment to conservation that minimizes wasted food.”
The report was written by registered dietitian nutritionists Chris Vogliano, agriculture, health and nutrition research fellow at the Academy; and Katie Brown, the Academy Foundation’s chief global nutrition strategy officer. The report details how and where wasted food occurs in the United States, “along the entire food supply chain, from farms, processors, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, restaurants/foodservice establishments and consumers – and everywhere in between.”
The report spotlights five Academy members, from a variety of geographic and practice areas, who are active in efforts to decrease food waste:
· Janice Giddens, nutrition and wellness program manager at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and her colleagues distribute more than 60 million pounds of food and grocery products while educating staff, partner agencies and clients to understand and optimize “best by” and “use by” dates and , increase the amounts of healthy foods that are distributed.
· Barbara Hartman, chief of nutrition and foodservice at Martinsburg VA Medical Center, in West Virginia, and her staff are decreasing food waste by donating wholesome leftovers to a nonprofit agency and composting unavoidable waste at on-site gardens.
· Alice Henneman, nutrition educator at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension, teaches clients how to reduce food waste in their own homes with food shopping, storage, cooking and composting tips and techniques.
· Donna S. Martin, director of the Burke County, Ga., school nutrition program, has implemented programs that cut back on food waste by offering students more options to choose foods they like and scheduling longer lunch periods to provide enough time for students to eat.
· Janell Walker, director of nutrition and community outreach at DC Central Kitchen in Washington, D.C., and her staff recover leftover food and converts it into meals for hungry and at-risk community residents; and works with neighborhood stores to increase availability of fresh produce in “food deserts” and repurpose “unsellable” produce into healthy meals.
The report’s authors conclude: “There is an immense need to shift our culture’s mindset towards one of conservation, especially American consumers, as we produce the largest amount of wasted food. The good news is that reducing wasted food makes sense – economically, environmentally and socially. Making any change towards a reduction of wasted food is a commendable step in the right direction.”
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity devoted exclusively to nutrition and dietetics. It funds scholarships and awards, public awareness and research projects and Academy strategic initiatives, and is the largest provider of scholarships and awards in the field of dietetics. The Foundation’s mission is advancing public health and nutrition utilizing the expertise of registered dietitians. Visit the Academy Foundation at www.eatrightfoundation.org.