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Almost Half of all Food Produced is Thrown Away

By Charles Kennedy | Thu, 10 January 2013 22:45 | 4

Between 30 and 50 percent of all food produced globally, equivalent to two billion tons, is thrown away each year according to a recent report written by the UK-based Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME), titled ‘Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not’.

The Guardian states that overly-cautious sell by dates, buy one get one free deals, and an obsession with only consuming fruit and vegetables that look perfect are some of the main reasons for this colossal waste of, not only food, but also the water, energy, and arable land used in the creation of the food.

The two billion tons of food wasted each year use 550 billion cubic metres of water to produce, with meat requiring 20-50 times more water than vegetables. As the global population increases to nine and a half billion by 2075, will the lack of available water to produce enough meat lead the majority to become vegetarians?

Related Article: 5 Biofuel Trends to Watch Out for in 2013

The report found that in the US and parts of Europe nearly half of all food bought by consumers is thrown away; and that 30 percent of all crops grown in the UK are not even harvested because they do not meet the stringent cosmetic standards that are set by supermarkets and other food distributors around the world. These statistics are criminal considering the fact that in 2010 nearly one billion people across the world went without food.

In order to try and reduce the wastage seen across the food industry, the IME recommends better engineering, agricultural techniques, and infrastructure.

By. Charels Kennedy of Oilprice.com

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  • Carlos santos on August 02 2013 said:
    Very enlightening, an eye opener and so much like the Rich fool. Thanks for this powerful info.
  • Clara on January 25 2013 said:
    The numbers in this article are devastating. The 1st and 2nd commenter have really got some good ideas when it comes to not throwing out so much stuff. But Joe, I'm pretty sure our meat production isn't based off of grass anymore (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/19/opinion/when-a-crop-becomes-king.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm). At least in the beef industry, they mostly feed the cows corn (which has a whole host of other problems, since cows's stomachs are not naturally prepared to digest that stuff).
    I hope smaller community movements to be conscientious consumers can continue to spread. The younger generation also has a huge responsibility to start changing the culture of consumption. We are the consumers of the near future and we have the opportunity to teach future generations how to be less wasteful and more sustainable.
  • Rod Newbound on January 13 2013 said:
    In NW Washington state (USA) there is a group called the Gleaners which routinely gathers unpicked produce as well as products past expiration, such as bread. The fee to join is very minimal... about $25 per year last time I checked. However, members are required to work a few hours a month doing various jobs in the group, such as gathering the produce in fields or assisting in the distribution facility. Alas, most people don't even bother. It's much easier to just show up at "food banks" for free food and collect their monthly allotment of food assistance from the government.

    And how many people even bother to plant and a tend a small garden. The price of seeds is quite cheap at places like Walmart. Lack of space has nothing to do with it and is just an excuse. There are not only community gardens but many farmers who would be glad to share space in return for a little labor.

    I grew up in a poor rural part of the country. We had little money to spend on food, but we raised about 75% of our food and gave away surplus to neighbors. I get really tired of reading articles like this as they are rarely based on reality.
  • Joe on January 11 2013 said:
    Was this generated to condemn meat cosumers? Much of meat production is produced as a result of consuming grass that is grown with rainfall that would have gone where? If that grass wasn't consumed would it just continue to accumulate and be subject to fires and resulting air pollution and just waste?

    Stateing that one billion went without food is a loose contention. We didn't lose 1/7 of our population last year to starvation. How long do people without food survive? Okay, you may retort this was taken out of context but it was also written out of context.

    The dating of food indoctrinates the consuming public. I buy many items on the day of expiration and sometimes don't use it for a few more days or immediately cook or prepare as that delays it's perishing.

    An acquaintance who served in the South Pacific during WWII as a Mess Sargent told me they were instructed to stick a knife into a portion of meat that was smelling bad and if the tip of the knife, when withdrawn, didn't smell the same, use it. They did and no one died from the meat.

    The same progressives that introduced this nonsense are the same ones now lamenting the results.

    There is common sense and there are laws to alleviate same.

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