Wasted! Study finds that 4.4 billion tons of food a year goes uneaten
January 11th, 2013
10:00 AM ET
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Up to half of the world's food is wasted, according to a new report that found production inefficiencies in developing countries and market and consumer waste in more advanced societies.

The British-based independent Institution of Mechanical Engineers said about 4.4 billion tons of food is produced annually and roughly half of it is never eaten.

Some of it is lost to inefficient harvesting, storage and transportation, while the rest is wasted by markets or consumers. The group also said food waste also impacts land, energy and water use.

"This level of wastage is a tragedy that cannot continue if we are to succeed in the challenge of sustainably meeting our future food demands," the group said in its report.

Read - World wastes half its food, study finds

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Filed under: Environment • Waste


soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Check out this enviornmental rap video about not wasting food! It is called the "Clean Plate Club" by a guy named Mr. Eco.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixhc3OnD6Ks&w=640&h=390]

    January 22, 2013 at 10:15 am |
  2. Steve Davis

    I watched a story on CNN regarding food waste. It showed the reporter dumpster diving, and uncovering food that had been thrown away by groceries and restaraunts, and she then ate it. The story seemed to be blaming these businesses for throwing the stuff away. I couldn't help but wonder, if a product was sold after the fresh date, and someone got sick on it, would that person sue someone? Why else might good looking food be thrown away? Maybe someone sneezed on it, or maybe it was not properly stored, maybe it was exposed to a host of other things. Refrigerators go out, food heats up. The food could have been recooled, or refrozen, but could have been exposed to dangerous temperatures and germs. A reporter digging into, and eating what she found in a dumpster, could be dangerous, and setting a bad example for others.

    January 14, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
  3. drkeek

    This is not a food waste issue, but it is a matter of getting the surplus excess but still edible food from the places now disposing of it to the places that can use it, food banks (out of date packed and canned foods) and soup kitchens (produce and meat and baked goods). I live in a town that has a fairly well organized system of charity disposal, although of course there is still room for improvement. Many bakeries have an hour in the morning where various charities can sign up to pick up yesterday's surplus baked goods. My church ran a soup kitchen and several times a week we went by, both to have breads and cakes to serve to the poor but also to give them to take home. The town also has a charity called Food Movers, staffed primarily by seniors. Any organization or individual, no matter how big or small, with excess food, can call them if they have packaged or canned food or need food, and they will schedule a pickup or drop off. Every city should have one of these. Not only that, food given to these charities can be claimed as charitable deductions which can help when paying taxes. I see food stores today that carry fresh meat that cannot possibly have a market for that; I am assuming this goes to the missions, because (having run a small store myself) there will be waste. So instead of getting all hot about food waste you might suggest that your reporter become an activist and see what she can do about connecting those with surplus to those with want.
    This does not solve the problem of restaurants serving too much food, portions that are too large to eat for normal people who eat salads, for example, and especially all that free broccoli that nobody seems to want. One restaurant I worked in had a contract with a local pig farmer to pick up food waste–but there may be laws against that today.
    So this is a problem that can be solved in a way that makes a difference, but it takes organization and will and somebody who cares. In NYC it is a little harder to donate food but anyone with a vehicle can call one of the 800 soup kitchens throughout the city and arrange to drop the food off there. So a Food Movers network is needed.

    January 14, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
  4. ducky69

    Wasted! Study finds that 4.4 billion tons of food a year goes uneaten

    I find the headline to be deceptive. If you read your own story it says that 4.4 billion tonnes of food is produced but 1/2 is wasted, which makes only about 2.2 billion tonnes wasted. I thought the math was kind of easy there.

    January 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  5. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    Looks like a shot of Lambeau field from the Goodyear blimp.

    January 11, 2013 at 10:18 am |
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