Some time ago, there was a program on the food network about food waste. On the food network website they have a couple of clips from the show, but I haven't been able to find the entire show. It was pretty amazing how much food is wasted in the U.S.
I found a review of the show with a lot of the statistics used on the show on a blog called "Crooks & Liars." I don't know what else the blog is about. The author, Nicole Belle did a good job discussing the issue.Some Excerpts from the aforementioned blog:
On the show, called "The Big Waste", they said grocery stores routinely throw away tons of perfectly good produce and meats due to small imperfections in appearance. Some store chains such as Whole Foods takes some of this excess product and gives it to local food pantries, but most of it ends up in landfills and compost heaps.
Chef Bobby Flay is shown going to a pick-your-own farm and discovering that waste accounts for 40-50% of the crops, because too often, customers will cut produce and then see some small imperfection, or a better/larger example of the produce and toss the rejected produce back on the ground. A small grocery in NYC acknowledged that they routinely throw out around eighty pounds of produce daily because they know customers won't select the produce with cosmetic imperfections, broken stems, etc. Eggs are thrown away because of discoloring on the shells, or that they're too large or small for egg containers. Whole chickens are discarded because the skin breaks or bones are broken during the butchering process. All told, some 27 million tons of perfectly edible food is thrown away every year. http://www.foodnetwork.com/food-network-specials/the-big-waste/index.html