FAO report 1/3 food is lost & wasted, equalling 1.3 billion tons per year

May 9, 2015

FROM: Robert van Otterdijk and Alexandre Meybeck, Global Food Losses and Food Waste: Extent, Causes and Prevention, Save Food and Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy 2011 Ex summary PAGE v. "The results of the study suggest that roughly one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year." [ fml: about 1 lb/day per person?] .".estimate that the per capita food waste by consumers in Europe and North-America is 95-115 kg/year, while this figure in Sub-Saharan Africa and South/Southeast Asia is only 6-11 kg/year,," PAGE 2 2.1 Definition of food losses and food waste Food losses refer to the decrease in edible food mass throughout the part of the supply chain that specifically leads to edible food for human consumption. Food losses take place at production, postharvest and processing stages in the food supply chain (Parfitt et al., 2010). Food losses occuring at the end of the food chain (retail and final consumption) are rather called “food waste”, which relates to retailers’ and consumers’ behavior. (Parfitt et al., 2010). “Food” waste or loss is measured only for products that are directed to human consumption, excluding feed and parts of products which are not edible. Per definition, food losses or waste are the masses of food lost or wasted in the part of food chains leading to “edible products going to human consumption”. Therefore food that was originally meant to human consumption but which fortuity gets out the human food chain is considered as food loss or waste even if it is then directed to a non-food use (feed, bioenergy…). This approach distinguishes chap. 3, page 5 "Food losses in industrialized countries are as high as in developing countries, but in developing countries more than 40% of the food losses occur at post harvest and processing levels, while in industrialized countries, more than 40% of the food losses occur at retail and consumer levels. Food waste at consumer level in industrialized countries (222 million ton) is almost as high as the total net food production in sub-Saharan Africa (230 million ton)." Per cap food loss and waste: NOT a direct quote: Except for S and Southeast Asia per cap food losses (i.e. the piece occurring from production to retailing) are fairly comparable across all regions except for S and SE Asia,which is significantly lower, SS Africa a bit lower. Chap 4 page 10 Box 2. Snapshot case: appearance quality standards "Carrot quality standards, by the supermarket chain Asda As research for the book ‘Waste – understanding the global food scandal’ (2009), Tristram Stuart visited several British farms in order to understand how quality standards affect the level of food waste. Among others, Stuart visited M.H. Poskitt Carrots in Yorkshire, a major supplier to the supermarket chain Asda. At the farm, the author was shown large quantities of out-graded carrots, which, having a slight bend, were sent off as animal feed. In the packing house, all carrots passed through photographic sensor machines, searching for aesthetic defects. Carrots that were not bright orange, had a blend or blemish or were broken were swept off into a livestock feed container. As staff at the farm put it: “Asda insist that all carrots should be straight, so customers can peel the full length in one easy stroke” (Stuart, 2009). In total, 25-30% of all carrots handled by M.H. Poskitt Carrots were out-graded. About half of these were rejected due to physical or aesthetic defects, such as being the wrong shape or size; being broken or having a cleft or a blemish." Chp 4, p 13 "Inadequate market systems cause high food losses in developing countries. To minimize losses, the commodities produced by farmers need to reach the consumers in an efficient way. There are too few wholesale, supermarket and retail facilities providing suitable storage and sales conditions for food products. Wholesale and retail markets in developing countries are often small, overcrowded, unsanitary and lacking cooling equipment (Kader, 2005). Prevention: Marketing cooperatives and improved market facilities. Marketing cooperatives are organizations providing a central point for assembling produce from small farmers and preparing commodities for transportation to markets and other distribution channels. The marketing cooperatives should be able to reduce food losses by increasing the efficiency of these activities. Although the development of wholesale and retail markets should preferably be done by the private sector, local governments and marketing cooperatives can be instrumental in establishing and improving market facilities (Kader, 2005)."


Source: Robert van Otterdijk and Alexandre Meybeck, "Global Food Losses and Food Waste: Extent, Causes and Prevention," Save Food and Food and Agriculture Organization, (Rome, Italy: 2011) Accessed on April 15, 2014. http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/suistainability/pdf/Global_Food... [verified 4/15/14]

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