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Half of world's food 'thrown away' claims UK report

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food-waste-nick-saltmarsh.jpgWe should be ashamed of ourselves. Despite being aware of the problems of both world hunger and obesity, we (or rather those we have trusted to lead us) continuously fail to come up with solutions that would help divide food more evenly worldwide and create a better place for all.

Sadly doesn't seem to be getting any better any time soon. A new UK-based report claims that as much as half of the world's food, amounting to two billion tonnes worth, ends up in the bin each year, with the biggest culprits being Europe and the US.

According to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the waste is being caused by poor storage, strict sell-by dates, bulk offers and consumer fussiness. The study also found that here in the UK up to 30% of vegetables are not harvested because of their physical appearance. Here millions of people are going hungry every day, yet perfectly edible produce is discarded because it isn't pretty enough.

Dr Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: "The reasons for this situation range from poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage infrastructure through to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy through buy-one-get-one-free offers."

Isn't it time that we take a good look at our own habits and make changes where possible? In the developed countries we need to cut back on ridiculous consumer behaviour that sees us buy more than we need (mostly due to tempting 2-for-1 offers) and accept that, as with humans, not all food is or needs to be 'perfect' when it comes to appearance. A carrot is a carrot, whether it is wonky or not! If supermarkets are throwing out edible food because they by law cannot sell them because it is past its sell by date, I'm sure many people, especially now in these tough economic times, would be happy to take it off their hands.

Image: Flickr / Creative Commons / Nick Saltmarsh.


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