The part of this image I'm concerned with is the very bottom. Is it true that
in the United States, 40% of food in the United States never makes it to the table?
Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
The source is reference 4 of the August 2012 NRDC paper, specifically The Progressive Increase of Food Waste in America and Its Environmental Impact PLOS One (2009). The 40% for United States is specifically attributed to this reference in line 4 of the NRDC executive summary (page 4 of the paper).
The PLOS article, particularly Fig. 1D and the discussion thereof, says that while the USDA estimates ~28% (on an energy basis) is wasted in the full process from being grown to being eaten, the mathematical model of the authors shows it is about ~38% at the latest date in the graph, 2003.
A more-recent statement from the USDA is :
In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply. This estimate [is] based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels
For more information see The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Economic Information Bulletin Number 121, February 2014.