Wasted food from the United States alone could feed all of the world's hungry

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Nearly 1 billion people of the now estimated 7 billion in population (and yes, a reduction is necessary) in the world are hungry. Almost the same number are illiterate, making it hard for them to earn a living or move out of poverty. And 1 billion people – many of them children – have micro-nutrient deficiencies, decreasing their ability to learn and to live productive lives.

Roughly 1.3 billion tons of food – a third of the total food produced for human consumption – is lost or wasted each year, and I would see that as rather a conservative estimate.

Within the United States alone, food retailers, food services, and households waste approximately 40 million tons of food each year, which is about the same amount needed to feed those very estimated 1 billion hungry people worldwide.

Add to that the food that is wasted in Britain, other major EU Member States and other developed countries, and not just by the richer segment of society, no one, anywhere, would need to go hungry, not even just a little.

Food is wasted before it ever gets to the market, especially in the EU where the idiots in Brussels make stupid rules about knobbly carrots and wrongly shaped cucumbers, apples of the wrong shapes and sizes and so on.

Other produce gets discarded by the farmer already because supermarkets won't want it as people seem to want a certain look. A little like those idiots in Brussels.

Then there is the waste in the shops and market stalls where today a box of apples that has one rotting has to be thrown away, and the same for other stuffs. During my childhood shops would give those fruit and vegetables that were a little worse for wear or might have gotten tainted away for immediate use to those in need. Illegal today.

This is then followed by the huge waste of foods of all kids in restaurant and hotel kitchens, those of hospitals and other institutions, including the military, the Houses of Parliament, and such.

Only then, and only then, do we arrive at the food that gets wasted in our homes and that often simply because people buy far too much than what they can use – and that even happens to me – and in addition to that far too many people have no idea as to”use by”, “best before” and “display until” dates and thus throw out food way too early. Furthermore there is the waste that accuses because people will not keep leftovers to make something from the next day; they rather go and buy “Bubble and Squeak”, for example, and this is due to the fact that way too many cannot cook from scratch. Leftovers from ping meals cannot be kept to be reheated.

It is the way be live and the way that we buy our food and also the way that we think vegetables, for instance, should look, that are the greatest contributors to food waste in the home and it is there where it hits us severely in the pocket.

Food waste is bad for the around one billion starving people around the world, is bad for the environment and the Planet and, last but not least, is bad for our pockets and finances.

By eliminating food waste we can tackle a fair number of issues and, what is more important, it is the reduction of food waste not just in our homes that we need to press for. It needs to be reduced right across the board.

© 2012