Did you know that globally we waste about one third of the food produced? The impact of food waste isn't just felt by the millions of people around the world going hungry; it's felt by all of us. A new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization shows the serious environmental impact of food waste, highlighting that after the United States and China, it is the third largest global contributor to CO2 emissions and therefore climate change.
Why are we wasting so much food? It's not just tossing out leftovers and produce that we haven't managed to put to use. In fact, distribution and consumption account for less than half of overall food waste. The FAO found that food is being wasted right at the source, with some farmers forced to get rid of 20 to 40 percent of their production because it doesn't meet "retailer's cosmetic specifications."
As the FAO points out, dealing with the issue of food waste would not only help alleviate issues of global hunger and food production, but also provide envrionmental solutions:
With such figures,it seems clear that a reduction of food wastage at global, regional, and national scales would have a substantial positive effect on natural and societal resources. Food wastage reduction would not only avoid pressure on scarce natural resources but also decrease the need to raise food production by 60 percent in order to meet the 2050 population demand.
The costs associated with food waste come out to about $750 billion per year. "We simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste or be lost because of inappropriate practices, when 870 million people go hungry every day," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
Along with the United Nations Environment Programme, the FAO is a founding member of Think Eat Save, an initiative to focus on reducing "foodprints" around the world.
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