About 12 percent of meals prepared by University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is left uneaten and rotting in the local landfill despite the university's goal to divert 60 percent of waste by 2020.
The Cedar-Rapids Gazette reports that the hospitals threw away more than $181,600 worth of food between Dec. 1, 2011, and Nov. 30, 2012.
That's about 12 percent of the 3 million servings made in its kitchens for employees and visitors.
A hospital food service administrator says the hospitals use daily sales data to plan ahead for the next two weeks but do not review long-term data to determine waste trends.
The hospitals could donate their leftovers, but officials fear liability if beneficiaries took ill.