A new study conducted by UK-based Institution of Medical Engineers has revealed an alarming fact, 50% of the world’s food goes to waste. Causes of this staggering issue include poor storage, strict sell by dates, bulk offers and consumer fussiness. Further more, half of all the food purchased in Europe and the U.S is thrown away after it is bought.
This is an important issue that needs to be addressed as the population heads towards 9.5 billion. Engineering Director Dr Colin Brown believes that more efficient food production and distribution system would provide enough food for the population and help to alleviate the problem. In a statement to the ABC he made the following comments:
“Somewhere between 30 and up to 50 per cent of all food is wasted between it being grown, being harvested, transported and eventually us eating it – in that whole process coming up to half of it doesn’t actually get eaten. ”
“The population is only going to increase by another 3 billion or so people and if we could have 100 per cent efficiency in the way that we are creating food now, we would have enough food for all of those people.
“So it is positive in saying if we can solve these problems, then the world is large enough to feed these people.”
He says the wastage is “an economic as much as an engineering issue.”
“There are some engineering things we can do straight away. If you have a little allotment yourself and you grow crops, everything tends to crop at the same time. You get a glut of stuff and you wonder what on earth to do with it all. Commercial farmers are no different in that everything tends to come to ripeness at the same time. And so a lot of the waste comes from the fact that prices drop or it is easier for them to leave things in the field.”
He says that means much of the world’s food never even reaches a delivery truck, let along somebody’s stomach.
“In developing countries part of the issue is that the infrastructure isn’t there.”
“The railways aren’t there, the chilling equipment to dry this stuff [isn’t there], a lot of stuff goes rotten because it is hot and wet.
“So you’ve got to look at the way that we’ve got the engineering in place to capture this food. We do have techniques for canning food and we have techniques for preserving food. It would mean a lot of it would not get wasted in the way that it does now.”