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Has Your Crisper Turned Into A Composter?



17% of food produced globally wasted every year, U.N. report estimates. Instead of finishing your leftovers, you let them go bad and buy takeout. ... That amounts to 931 million metric tons (1.03 billion tons) of food.

What is food loss and food waste?


Food loss and waste has indeed become an issue of great public concern. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reflects the increased global awareness of the problem. Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals calls for halving per capita global food waste at retail and consumer levels by 2030, as well as reducing food losses along the production and supply chains.


To provide more clarity on the subject and to measure progress towards SDG Target 12.3, FAO’s 2011 estimate is in the process of being replaced by two separate indices: the Food Loss Index (FLI) and the Food Waste Index (FWI).


The FLI, prepared by FAO, provides new loss estimates from post-harvest up to, but not including, the retail stage. Food waste by retailers and consumers is not included in the FLI. Initial estimates of the FLI tell us that around 14 percent of the world’s food is lost from post-harvest up to, but excluding, the retail level.


The FWI, for which estimates calculated by UN Environment are forthcoming, will provide global estimates on the food wasted at the retail and consumption levels.


Food Loss


Is the decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by food suppliers in the chain, excluding retailers, food service providers and consumers.


Empirically, it refers to any food that is discarded, incinerated or otherwise disposed of along the food supply chain from harvest/slaughter/catch up to, but excluding, the retail level, and does not re-enter in any other productive utilization, such as feed or seed.


Food loss, as reported by FAO in the FLI, occurs from post-harvest up to, but not including, the retail level.



How Make Your Food Last Longer


We all learn from someone, and today’s hero is Jamie Oliver, everybody’s favourite well dressed Naked Chef. I learned about this when reading one of Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks. There is a better way to keep your vegies fresh and crisp in the fridge, and it’s not in plastic. The best way to keep your vegies in the fridge, and to keep mold away, is to wrap them loosely in a cotton dishtowel. This allows the vegetables to breathe and keeps them dry, keeping mold and fungus away for longer periods of time.


Plastic tends to keep them wet or excessively damp, encouraging mold growth. I’m surprised to see how many people seem to think that vegies should be wrapped in plastic. Many vegetables are sold in plastic bags, but this is not meant to be a long term storage wrapping for them. As soon as you get your vegies home from the store, they should be taken out of their plastic wrapping and wrapped in a cloth towel. I promise you, you will enjoy your vegies for much longer!!


Food waste refers to the decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by retailers, food service providers and consumers. Food is wasted in many ways:


  • Fresh produce that deviates from what is considered optimal, for example in terms of shape, size and color, is often removed from the supply chain during sorting operations.

  • Foods that are close to, at or beyond the “best-before” date are often discarded by retailers and consumers.

  • Large quantities of wholesome edible food are often unused or left over and discarded from household kitchens and eating establishments.


Bringing people together to reduce food loss and waste


Everyone has a part to play in reducing food loss and waste. FAO accordingly works with a broad spectrum of stakeholders and partners to tackle the problem. At the macro level, FAO works in collaboration with governments and other international bodies to promote awareness and advocacy on the issues and to develop policies to reduce FLW. At the meso-level, FAO’s activities facilitate coordination among food supply chain actors - farmers, handlers, processors and traders, in collaboration with the public and private sectors and civil society. At the micro level, FAO focuses on consumers and changing their individual attitudes, behaviours, consumption and shopping habits related to food. This is done through education, particularly focusing on providing information on safe food handling, proper food storage in households and understanding “best before” dates in order to prevent and reduce food waste.


Reducing food loss and waste is critical to creating a Zero Hunger world and reaching the world’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 2 (End Hunger) and SDG 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns).


For many people on the planet, food is a given. But for the staggering more than 820 million people who are hungry, food is not a guarantee. FAO aims to increase respect for food, as well as for the farmers who produce it, the natural resources that go into producing it and the people who go without it.





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