Take a look into an average American dumpster and it might seem like tossing out food is a national pastime.
Nearly 40 percent of all food in the United States produced for human consumption in the gets tossed each year, even though about 14 percent of American households are considered “food insecure,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
That means children and adults in roughly 17.4 million households lack access to enough food to maintain “an active, healthy life.”
One big problem is the absence of national food labeling standards, causing much confusion among consumers about “sell-by” and “expiration” dates. It’s an issue that California Assemblyman David Chiu is trying to tackle with new legislation to simplify how food in California is labeled, as recently covered on KQED’s Forum and Newsroom shows.
But the problem cuts far deeper than that, with serious worldwide consequences.
Comic journalist Andy Warner sniffs out this alarmingly rotten issue.
Click images below to view as a slideshow, or download the complete illustration.
- UN FAO food waste report
- NRDC study
- Kevin Hall: Food waste environmental impact study
- USDA report on food insecurity
- KQED Quest video segment
Andy Warner’s comic journalism has been published by Symbolia, Slate, popsci.com, American Public Media, Campus Progress and more. You can see more of his work at: andywarnercomics.com and andywarnercomics.tumblr.com