Ramadan Waste = Pigswill??

Seldom do you see Ramadan and hogs in the same sentence, but they’ve both been in the ‘food waste news’ recently.

On the former, here’s a thought-provoking editorial lamenting the increased food waste during Ramadan in the United Arab Emirates. A common cooking tactic during the holy month of daylight fasting is to overprepare to ensure that there’s enough food for each night’s meal.

While that trend occurs throughout much of the Muslim world, food waste rises about 35 percent during Ramadan in the UAE. And so during that month, food comprises 55 percent of the UAE’s waste stream!

That would be slightly less of an ethical, environmental and economic catastrophe if that waste were fed to livestock instead of sent to a landfill. And hogs would be a great way to convert that food waste to edible protein, if not for that minor barrier of cultural inappropriateness.

Contrastingly, Britain has few barriers to eating pork. Unfortunately, there are legal ones–post mad cow disease and foot and mouth outbreaks–to feeding them our scraps. But this Guardian editorial wonders aloud of the BSE-induced ban on feeding our leftovers to hogs is outdated. Meanwhile, The Pig Idea campaign is pushing people in that same direction, and there are plenty of Britons who want to Bring Back Pigswill.

If the swill-to-livestock laws are loosened and there was an sustainable way to ship all that Ramadan food waste to British hog farms, that’d be one possible solution (but not a fabulous one). In the absence of both, it’s even more vital to waste less, as the UAE group Saving Grace and the UK’s Fare Share are busy advocating.

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