World Food Waste Study

Yesterday, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization released a very interesting report on global food waste. It contains mind-boggling new statistics, calls international attention to the issue and serves as a prelude to the SaveFood! conference next week in Germany.

Here’s the key line:

Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted…

As you might guess from the above, the report distinguishes between loss and waste. I disagree with the study’s premise here–that ‘loss’ occurs on farms or in processing and ‘waste’ occurs at retail and homes–because it assumes no culpability before food reaches the retail setting.

Also, the report found that the level of waste is about the same in the developed and developing world. In the latter, poor infrastructure, farmers’ limited access to markets and a lack of refrigeration are mostly to blame.

On the whole, the study is an extremely valuable resource. Oh, and the FAO used a few of my photos in it. In fact, three of the four cover shots are mine (all from the Portland Metro waste facility).

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