Waste Not Want Not

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THE WORLD WASTES 50% OF AVAILABLE FOOD

While almost one billion mouths suffer from hunger worldwide, many fields with unharvested crops lie rotting.  Laws dictating tossing out foods with expired sell-by dates result in the dumping of perfectly good food sources.  And less-than-perfect fruits and vegetables headed for grocery store shelves end up in the trash heap.

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So says a recent study by GB’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers which calculates that nearly “2 billion tons of food produced worldwide never makes it into a consumer’s mouth.” (LA Times)  The study, which predicts the need to feed an additional 3 billion mouths by 2075, blames the “supply chain”, an infrastructure rife with inadequacies of transportation, agricultural practices and inefficiencies such as poor storage facilities and packaging along with misused natural resources of water, land, and energy. IME also points a finger at both retailers and consumers.

If produce isn’t attractive or unblemished, most consumers will by-pass it, observes the study, which identifies US and European consumers as a group that dumps about half of all food they buy.  With such overwhelming waste and inefficiency in the production and distribution of potentially viable and still nutritious foodstuffs, world hunger will continue to grow.  Changes in process and infrastructure along with transforming the consumer mind-set are solutions to end world hunger and could up the potential to feed the world by 60%-100% (Canarian Weekly). The IME is calling for immediate action to address this growing crisis of waste and hunger.           —MELorden

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