News / Health

Report: Up to Half of World Food Production is Wasted

Report: Up to Half of World Food Production is Wastedi
X
January 14, 2013 9:01 PM
Up to half of the food the world produces goes to waste, according to a new report. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Britain says cutting waste is vital if the world is to meet food demand as the global population soars. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Report: Up to Half of World Food Production is Wasted
Henry Ridgwell
Up to half of the food the world produces goes to waste, according to a new report. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Britain says cutting waste is vital if the world is to meet food demand as the global population soars.
 
In a barn hundreds of meters long, thousands of chickens are producing eggs on an industrial scale. Conveyor belts take the eggs directly to the packing area. From this farm in eastern France, they are taken across Europe.
 
Every year the world produces around four billion tons of food. And between a third and half of it goes to waste, according to the report from the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
 
The group says that in Southeast Asian countries for example, losses of rice can range from 37% to 80% of total production. Much of this can be traced to how it  is harvested, stored and transported, says report co-author Colin Brown.
 
“[Food] is trying to rot all the time, so you’ve got to keep it dry, you’ve got to keep it cool and you’ve got to transport it and use it as quickly as possible. So I think when you haven’t got the infrastructure, you haven’t got the railways, you haven’t got the shipping, you’re doing damage to it every time you move it," he said. 
 
In developed economies such as in Europe and the United States, the report says more efficient farming practices ensure that more of the food produced reaches consumers. But it claims millions of tons of food is thrown away because it’s past its sell-by date, or sometimes because it doesn’t reach the supermarket shelves at all.
 
“Certainly once you get it to the supermarket, they have very high standards about what it ought to look like, never mind about how it ought to taste or whether it’s edible or valuable. But exactly how it ought to look. And so we throw a lot away just because it’s not cosmetically attractive," he said. 
 
That’s not the fault of the stores, says Richard Dodd of the British Retail Consortium, which represents supermarkets.
 
“In fact, these are EU marketing rules and the retailers have been at the forefront of pushing for a relaxation in them. And that has happened. Back in 2009, 26 different items of produce were taken off those lists," he said. 
 
Many aid agencies and charities welcomed the report for highlighting the huge amount of waste at a time when millions of people suffer from malnutrition.
 
Aid agency Save the Children says there is enough food in the world to feed every child - but still 2.3 million children die as a result of hunger every year.

Director of Policy Brendan Cox said, “Families are having to choose between feeding themselves and feeding their children and nobody should have to make that choice."
 
Large amounts of land, energy, fertilizers and water are also lost in the production of food which simply end up as waste, according to the report authors. But they say there is another message in the figures.
 
“The very positive message here is that while we’re losing so much in waste, the population growth and the demand for food across the world - we can meet it if we just reduce the waste. We don’t need to cut down lots more forests and plant a lot more crops," he said. 
 
And with the global population predicted to peak at 9.5 billion people by 2075, the report concludes that reducing wastage must be part of the plan to meet that demand.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Abdul Ibrahim from: Sao Paulo
January 16, 2013 5:15 PM
Thanks to the developed countries...visit one Food Court at a shopping Mall near you and see how people waste food in an inconsiderable way. This is not to mention restaurants.......


by: Jeremy
January 15, 2013 1:23 PM
Perhaps these Engineers should "brainstorm" the land seizures in Zimbabwe and see what mayhem was unleashed on the farmers and their employees, some of whom were murdered, beaten up and are now landless with no recourse to justice.Their findings would demonstrate the irreparable damage to the economy and the hardship of massive unemployment

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid