John Oliver Discusses the Alarming and Sobering State of Food Waste

We’re not trying to pile onto your Monday blues, but food waste is out of control.

A staggering 40 percent of food that is produced in the U.S. never gets consumed. For those that need a better picture of how much that is, imagine 730 football stadiums filled with food.

This is a fairly crazy statistic, especially considering that in 2013, around 50 million people in the U.S. worried about putting food on their tables. ‘Food insecurity’-the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable and nutritious food, is a serious problem, even in North America.


The fact that this is happening in a country where there is more than enough food and resources to feed everyone is mind-boggling.

And it’s not just wasted food, methane that is emitted by landfills from all the waste is also polluting our atmosphere. Methane, that is 20x more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2.

Oliver sums it up well by saying:

“At a time when the landscape of California is shriveling up like a pumpkin in front of a house with a lazy dad, it seems especially unwise that farmers are pumping water into food that ends up being used as a garnish for landfills. When we dump food into a landfill, we’re essentially throwing a trash blanket over a flatulent food man and Dutch-ovening the entire planet.”

Not a pretty picture is it?

Neither is the fact that those sell-by and best-by dates you read and base your shopping on, are actually set by manufacturers, who basically just guess at these numbers to cover their liabilities.

So the next time you’re going to throw away that half eaten container of yogurt because it’s one day past the ‘expiration date’, we suggest thinking twice.

The worst part is most of the wasted food gets thrown away simply because it isn’t aesthetically pleasing enough. That’s right – if food doesn’t look perfect, even if it’s perfectly nutritious, half the time it doesn’t even make it to the store.

We don’t know about you, but we’re pretty sick of unrealistic beauty standards for human beings, the fact that they apparently exist for the food we eat is pretty much insane.

Once again, Oliver takes a bite out of a relevant and important social issue.