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
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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid