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17% of food production globally wasted, UN report estimates

The authors are hoping the report will encourage countries to invest in measuring waste
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 file photo, students discard food at the end of their lunch period as part of a lunch waste composting program at an elementary school in Connecticut. A United Nations report released on Thursday, March 4, 2021 estimates 17% of the food produced globally each year is wasted. That amounts to 931 million tons of food, or about double what researchers believed was being wasted a decade ago. And most of the waste — or 61% — happens in households, while food service accounts for 26% and retailers account for 13%. (Dave Zajac/Record-Journal via AP)

NEW YORK — A new report from the United Nations estimates that 17% of food produced globally is wasted each year. But the report notes the need for better data on food waste globally, with few countries tracking it well. 

The authors are hoping the report will encourage countries to invest in measuring waste. Brian Roe, a food waste researcher at Ohio State University, says improved measurement can lead to improved management. The report estimates that most of food waste — or 61% — happens in households. 

Food service accounts for 26% and retailers account for 13%.