As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, measures to contain the virus have disrupted our food systems and supply chains. While shoppers stockpile at grocery stores in fear of a food shortage, farmers all over the country struggle with an abundance of food initially meant for institutions that have now closed. Without a market, some farmers have been forced to dump gallons of milk and produce back into the soil, adding to the country’s already present food waste problem.

Many sources contribute to the billion pounds of wasted food annually, one of the largest being individual consumers. With 1 in 6 Americans getting a foodborne illness every year, food safety concerns and uncertainty of product dates among consumers result in a lot of good food being discarded.

Virginia Aparicio is health and human sciences educator with Purdue Extension Elkhart County. She can be reached at 574-533-0554, vaparici@purdue.edu.

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