Food Waste at the Summit?

While it is tempting to talk more about my pantry, I suppose I should address the UN world food crisis summit taking place in Rome.

Yesterday, the gathering kicked off with an address by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. According to a report from NPR’s All Things Considered, Ban referenced wealthy nations “wasteful and excess consumption of food” as part of the problem (around the 1:20 mark).

The problem is, I can’t find any reference to wasting in the text of his speech. Assuming NPR isn’t making things up, the UN General Secretary mentioning the topic is a watershed moment for food waste, which is so often ignored.

Moving down the ladder, Jacques Diouf, the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), basically said ‘We only need $30 billion to wipe out world hunger. considering some countries waste $100 billion of food, let’s make this happen.’ Here’s the more official version:

Dr Diouf noted that in 2006 the world spent US$1.2 billion on arms while food wasted in a single country could cost US$100 billion and excess consumption by the world’s obese amounted to US$20 billion.

For the fully official version see Diouf’s transcript (page 6, second paragraph).

The UN recognizing food waste as part of the problem is a key step. Now, if they can only suggest action on how to minimize that waste. And I wonder if they’re donating the excess food from the summit to help feed Rome’s poor…

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