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Agriculture Department, EPA target food waste

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By The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Americans throw away more than a third of what they buy — that's almost $400 a year per person, or more than an average month's worth of groceries. In 2010, an estimated 133 billion pounds of food from U.S. retailers, restaurants and homes was tossed.

Working with the nation's largest retailers and food companies, the Agriculture Department and the EPA said Tuesday that they are going to try to bring those numbers down.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the department will work with industry to make it easier for companies to donate misbranded meat and poultry, test a meat-composting program and increase donations of edible food that may get discarded because of appearance.

EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe said food decomposing in landfills can create greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

The EPA recommends that consumers cook what they already have at home before buying food and to plan menus to cut down on unwanted ingredients. The agency also recommends composting any leftover food, ordering smaller portion sizes at restaurants and donating edible foods to food banks.

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