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Report: Half the world's food production going to waste

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 16th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

With starvation an ongoing world problem, it's disheartening to learn that much food, half - is being lost and wasted with current food production. According to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Britain reports that up to half of the food the world produces goes to waste. Cutting waste is vitally important if the world is to meet food demand as the global population soars.
 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the group, every year the world produces around four billion tons of food. And between a third and half of it goes to waste.
 
The report says that in Southeast Asian countries, losses of rice can range from 37 to 80 percent of total production. Much of this can be traced to how it is harvested, stored and transported, report co-author Colin Brown says.
 
"[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," Brown said.
 
The report says more efficient farming practices in Europe and the United States ensure that more of the food produced reaches the table. Even there, Brown claims that millions of tons of food are 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.
 
It's not the fault of the retailer, Richard Dodd of the British Retail Consortium says. "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 charities are applauding the report for highlighting the huge amount of waste in a world where millions of people suffer from malnutrition.
 
Save the Children says that there is enough food in the world to feed every child, but still 2.3 million children die of hunger annually.

"Families have to choose between feeding themselves and feeding their children and nobody should have to make that choice," Director of Policy Brendan Cox says.
 
The report also says that large amounts of land, energy, fertilizers and water are also lost in the production of food which simply ends up as waste. There is also another salient 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, reducing food waste must be part of the plan to meet that demand.

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