May 11, 2011
A Third Of Food Produced Each Year Is Wasted
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Wednesday that about a third of the food produced in the world each year gets lost or wasted.
"Given the limited availability of natural resources it is more effective to reduce food losses than increase food production in order to feed a growing world population," the FAO said in a report.
FAO said the amount of food lost or wasted each year by rich countries is almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa.
About 925 million people around the world suffer from hunger.
The report said the problem in the developing world was mainly food losses.
The issue is more about "retailers and consumers throwing perfectly edible foodstuffs into the trash" in industrialized countries.
The report found that in Europe and North American, consumers wasted between 209 and 253 pounds of food each year.
It said there was an "over-emphasis on appearance" in the retail industry.
"Surveys show that consumers are willing to buy produce not meeting appearance standards as long as it is safe and tastes good," accordint to the report.
"Consumers in rich countries are generally encouraged to buy more food than they need," the report said, giving oversized ready-to-eat meals produced by the food industry and fixed-price buffets in restaurants as an example.
The data was contained in a report commissioned by FAO from the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology for a conference that will be held in Germany later this month entitled "Save Food!".
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