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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One Comment

  1. Khalifa Bin Haqi
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    You also demonstarte the eteonostic fallacy of stats by saying that we waste only “a third of food produced for human consumption”, here a sinister facet of stats is exposed, their teleogenic pliability. A gaping hole in this supposed statistical fact is that meat production for human consumption involves the secondary production of fodder for the animals consumption. over the course of their lives many tonnes and thousands of gallons of water. Are we to blame the farm animals for needing to be fed? Or absolve ourselves of responsibility for what we eat? We are in fact part of a mass society where perhaps 65% or more of food produced becomes lubricant for a false economy, the production of undemanded food supplied by a bogus market to inflate an ailing manufacturing industry (food production now its largest sector), all subsidised by governemnts taking holidays paid for by Unilever, and let’s not forget the petro-chemical cartel who desperately need outlets for their surplus product. Let’s us not splice truth with teleogenic stat twiddling, we are responsible for the entire line of production from the Monsanto soaked fields to the waste compactors next to every supermarket car park.

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