Dr. Gupta: After all my years of reporting, this haunts meDr. Sanjay Gupta
(CNN) – Most of the time when you hear me talking about food, I am talking about the food we eat. But a few years ago, I realized I needed to talk more about the food we DON’T eat.
Far too often, food is thrown in the trash and dumped in landfills instead of filling hungry bellies. You have probably heard the statistics: Nearly 40% of our food goes to waste in the United States — either in the fields, on the docks, in grocery stores or in people’s homes. That’s 165 billion pounds of food every year. It is an astonishing number and one that sadly reflects both the extravagance and the waste seen in one of the richest countries in the world.
I promise you that our children and grandchildren will rightly hold us accountable for this tragic misuse of food that has led to a plundering of our land, an accumulation of greenhouse gases and the loss of precious water used to grow and produce that wasted food.
What boggled my mind, though, is the unacceptable disconnect between food waste and hunger. How is it possible that we trash this ridiculous amount of food while one in six children (one in eight people of all ages) in the United States is food-insecure, unsure when or if they will receive another meal? This is why I chose to focus on the charity Feeding America for CNN’s Champions for Change series.
I didn’t get into journalism to become an advocate for anything. In fact, the more I learn, the more I realize I still don’t know. So it is not my nature to be so certain that I become dogmatic and categorically convinced that I am right. Yet after 17 years of traveling the world reporting on both natural and manmade disasters, this particular issue has haunted me more than most. And I now know it is one we can absolutely solve.
The most emotional story I have ever covered