09/26/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Half Of All Food And Water Produced Worldwide Goes To Waste

A report authored by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Stockholm International Water Institute, and the International Water Management Institute asserts that more than half of all food and water produced worldwide goes to waste. The brief, "Saving Water: From Field to Fork- Curbing Losses and Wastage in the Food Chain" encourages governments to reduce the rate of food waste by 2025.

According to Treehugger, ten trillion gallons of water is necessary to produce $48 billion worth of wasted food annually.

Anybody who has ever eaten at a buffet or gone to a supermarket knows how much food we waste on a regular basis. You needn't be a devoted freegan to appreciate just how much of the food we throw away is still in near-pristine condition. As if wasting all that food weren't bad enough, one can only imagine the vast quantities water that get frittered away worldwide during production (too much). In the U.S. alone, around 40 trillion liters of water (roughly the amount needed to produce 30% of the country's food), enough to supply the needs of 500 million families, are lost every year.

The report's authors are shocked by the rampant food and water waste:

That's like leaving the tap running and pouring 40 trillion liters of water into the garbage can - enough water to meet the household needs of 500 million people.

Andrew C. Revkin of Dot Earth illuminates the severity of wasted water.

The vast amounts of food lost to spoilage and insects in poor countries, and simply tossed in rich ones, also represent an enormous stream of wasted water, according to a new report that calls for big improvements in a world heading toward 9 billion hungry, thirsty mouths.


::More on the politics of food from the Huffington Post
::Read Maura Judkis' blog on 9 ways to cut down on food waste from the Huffington Post.