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Half of world's food thrown away: study

Jan 10, 2013

As much as half of the world's food, amounting to two billion tonnes worth, ends up being thrown away, a new report says.

A new report estimates that between thirty percent and fifty percent of all food produced in the world is never eaten. The report says as much as half of the world's food, amounting to two billion tonnes worth, ends up being thrown away.

The report, Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not by UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME), said up to 30 per cent of vegetables in the UK were not harvested because of their physical appearance. Dr Fox, head of energy and environment at the IME, said the amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering.

This is food that could be used to feed the world's growing population - as well as those in hunger today.

Earlier, in October 2012 a report released by UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said because of the inefficiencies along the food delivery chain an estimated one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, amounting to 1.3 billion tonnes per year.

The UNEP report aimed to increase the focus on the crucial aspects, which are being undermined by overfishing, unsustainable water use, environmentally degrading agricultural practices and other human activities. It also framed the debate in the context of the green economy, calling for food production and consumption practices that ensure productivity without undermining ecosystem services.

While pointing out the current challenges, the report also offered a clear way forward to shore up the ecological foundations and improve food security by its recommendations on the redesign of sustainable agriculture systems, dietary changes and storage systems and new food standards to reduce waste.

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