Food abuse is any food material, raw or cooked, which is termed as waste, or intended to be discarded. This uneaten food is regarded as waste from residences and commercial places such as restaurants, institutional cafeterias and kitchens, and industrial lunchrooms.
However, food supply in America is the most diverse and abundant than any other country in the world, the abuse of food starts from the planting stage, where crops can be subjected to pest’s infection and bad weather, resulting to losses before harvest. Natural causes like temperature remain one of drivers of crop growth. Use of machinery in harvesting can cause waste or abuse of food, as harvesters who use machine may be unable to harvest between ripe and immature crops leading to abuse of food in the garden or even mishandling of some food materials which are rather delicate in handling like fruits thus most of them are spoilt hence thrown away. Some economic factors, such as regulations and standards for quality and appearance also cause food abuse whereby farmers often harvest selectively, leaving crops that are not to standard in the field. This mostly happens to the commercial farmers because they are only interested to quality foods which can earn them more money or which are pleasant to the eyes of the buyers(Miller, 2008 p 12-15). Â
The problem in American is that a lot of food is bought but much of it is wasted due to low consumption. Purchase of wrong food staff and amounts may also lead to abuse of food since much of it, if not all may end up as waste.
Cultural shifts in America hasten food abuse such as â€œeat what you likeâ€ contributes much to wasting of food. Children waste about $2 billion of taxpayer dollars through the National School Lunch Program. The packed lunch that kids carry to school accounts for at least the same amount of waste as school provided lunch for the children.
What are the cost and consequences?
Food abuse significantly affects environmental, economic, and community health. The accumulation of waste food on land contributes to air and water pollution, and the burning of waste food do affects air quality. Economic and nutritional losses are incurred from the calories lost in discarded food as well as from the energy and materials used to transport food waste to landfills. Wasted food results to fewer nutrients are available for human consumption, which jeopardize community food security (Miller, 2008 p 26-29). Â
Food abuse contributes much toward great consumption of freshwater and fossil fuels in the soil, along with methane and carbon dioxide emissions from decomposing food. This leads to global impacts of climate change in the word.
However, according toâ€¦. found that US per capita food waste has progressively increased by about 51% since 1974 attaining more than 1400 Calories per person in a day.Food waste calculation progressive increase suggests that the US obesity epidemic may have been because of increase of food availability and marketing with Americans being unable to match their food intake with the increased supply of cheap, readily available food.
Food abuse is now anticipated to account for more than a quarter of the total freshwater utilization and more than 300 million barrels of oil in a year. This representing about 3.5% of the total US oil consumption.
Economical food abuse carries immense price tag, which is estimated at $150 billion in a year on a dollar per pound basis, abuse of food can consume a larger portion of your household dollars that can be spent elsewhere to meet your needs.
Socially rising rate of food abuse in the United States of America coincides with an increasing of the number of hungry people in America, and you have a feeling of the social dilemma, which is caused by food abuse. Lack of access to enough food, to fully meet someone’s basic needs at all times due to lack of financial resources (Miller, 2008 p 53-38). Â
- Inappropriate planning for meals.
However, lack of proper planning for your meals is one the most ineffective ways you can cut waste of food. People do not check there fridge, freezer or store cupboard. Before going to a shopping centre first write a list so that you do not buy things you already have in stock. Lack of engaging the children to suggest the kind of food or meals they would like to have in that week may result in the abuse of food through wasting in one way or another.
- Throwing leftovers.
Misuse of food due to lack of recycling of food resulting to leftovers of food is a great way to prevent food waste, save time cooking, and save money on bought lunches.
- Poor storage of food.
However, poor storage of food may result in abuse of food. Check what you have stored in your cupboard regularly so that you can see what food should be used up first. Foodstuff that is put first in the storage facility should be eaten first to avoid spoilage. Then after opening packets of dried foods such as, rice, flour, cakes, reseal them tightly or transfer them into storage to avoid wastage. In case you have opened a can of food such as fruit you are not going to use it all at once, you have to empty the food into a storage container, and put it in the fridge or freezer.Â