Saturday, July 18, 2009

food waste

British households chuck away 2.6bn slices of bread each year. Tristram Stuart, the author of a new book, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal estimates it would be possible to alleviate the hunger of 30 million people. If rich countries are wasting lots of the grain they buy, it stands to reason that they are buying more of it than they would otherwise need to. That unnecessarily high demand reduces the overall supply, which pushes the price up, making grain less affordable for poor and undernourished people in other parts of the world.

The BBC reported more than a million unopened pots of yogurt and yogurt drinks are thrown away in the UK every day - that's 484 million a year, according to recent research , that is about 9.4% of yogurt pots bought which are thrown away unopened . There is no consideration of unused pots thrown away by shops, restaurants and cafes , so the actual figure for wasted yogurt is probably much higher.
Also found was that 4.4 million whole apples and 1.2 million sausages are thrown away each day.

Overall, a 2007 government survey found that we throw away some 6.7m tonnes of food a year – a third of the food we buy.

A study by Imperial College for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, found that supermarkets preferred to throw away food that was approaching its sell-by date rather than mark it down in price. "The cost of staff time is greater than the money made on the reduced items," the research found, citing a supermarket executive who said it cost the chain £11 million a year in labour and lost margins to slash prices.

The Independent on Sunday reported that Britain is throwing away half of all the food produced on farms.

About 20 million tons of food is thrown out each year: equivalent to half of the food import needs for the whole of Africa. Some 16 million tons of this is wasted in homes, shops, restaurants, hotels and food manufacturing. Much of the rest is thought to be destroyed between the farm field and the shop shelf.

The chief executive of FareShare, the national food charity, said
"Unfortunately, we live in a world where many people do not have access to food in general, and good-quality food specifically, while at the same time millions of tons of perfectly fine food are being disposed of. In the UK alone, the extent of food poverty is staggering, as millions of people with low or no income find it harder to access affordable, nutritious food."

A professor at City University , Tim Lang , who said:
"Waste is a fundamental part of the food economy and it will be hard to get rid of. I do not see how simply appealing to morals will do it."

It is the economics of capitalism that places the need for profit before the needs of people and the planet .

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