Friday, 11 January 2013

Half The Worlds Food Wasted

So the news today is reporting on how half the worlds food produced ends up in the landfill.
What took the news so long to pick up this story? This has been an obvious situation for decades and it as per usual it surprises me how newsreaders can roll this out randomly one day and call it 'news' but there you go.

I mentioned this combined with a general overview of real environmental issues about two or three years ago on a youtube video:

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has said that "the waste was being caused by poor storage, strict sell-by dates, bulk offers and consumer fussiness."

Ok. Well lets just consider these points for a moment. Poor storage? Yes, blatantly. Strict sell-by-dates? Yes. Once upon a time it was good enough just to use common sense to determine whether food was past its best or not. Generally speaking if meat or vegetables is gone you won't want to eat it, the strict sell-by-dates is merely a ruse to get us to chuck more away and therefore carry on buying more the next week. 

Trouble is lately through a combination of bulk buy offers and the short use by dates, half the food we do buy ends up going out of date within days of buying it which of course exacerbates the problem.

Customer fussiness? I would argue against this point, but generally if people in the modern world, or at least the west, had time to cook meals from scratch this would not be an issue. As it stands it is much cheaper to buy a prepacked meal then it is to buy all the ingredients and do something from scratch, something which is a real shame and which is partly to blame for the amount of obese kids you see these days.

The report called Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not from the UK-based institution, as much as half of the world's food, amounting to two billion tonnes worth, is wasted. Up to 30% of the vegetables in the EU   are either thrown away or the farmers themselves do not even bother to harvest them because they know they will not meet the EU's 'criteria'. (

The EU has already it seems sought to reduce the number of fruit and vegetables they are putting size and shape (as ridiculous as this sounds to begin with) restrictions on. 

At the end of the day pressures from groups such as this who created this report usually financed by the UN are going to end up forcing legislation in most countries to reduce food wastage. This is not a bad thing and as much as I usually hate the UN, I have to agree with this particular scheme, especially if we are not going to do anything pro-active about population growth. That said I do have some concerns.

In the past few weeks an idea was announced by the Tories about reducing benefits for claimants who were overweight:

And labour has suggested putting restrictions on fat, sugar and salt in certain foods:

And as I stated in my last blog post the reduction of benefits for overweight claimants is pretty much unenforceable so my concern is that they will simply use a different method of imposing tax on unhealthy foods to subsidise losses to supermarkets who will have to improve food wastage on fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. In any case, no matter what happens, as soon as the Government gets involved you know it will just cost the people more money regardless. A negligible reduction in NHS costs whilst spending more in taxes to give back to corrupt banking families of which the Government is to blame for taking loans with in the first place.

Time will tell, but don't tell I didn't tell you so.

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