Friday, November 20, 2015
Food wastage is a much bigger problem globally than it seems. Scan of the statistics reveal that 30% of the food is wasted. America falls under the scanner reporting food wastes up to 40%. Recently, the United States and United Nations pledged to reduce by half the amount of food wasted in the U.S and abroad by 2030. To address this huge concern, 2 separate articles by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers suggest ways and measures to curtail food waste and related repercussions.
The following are the suggestions made by the researchers in their respective papers. These appear in the journal Health Affairs
Clarifying food labels: Deconstructing food label terms such as ‘use by’, ‘best by’, ‘sell by’ could prevent consumers from discarding perfectly fine food.
Creating a market for damaged produce: Researchers suggest creating a market for bruised or nicked fruits and vegetables could improve their consumption and minimise wastage
Improving infrastructure: In lower and middle income countries, the researchers suggest improvement of infrastructure such that food doesn’t spoil while in-transit to the markets
Recovering food: Researchers suggest donation of healthy food such that it benefits the recipients. Food banks would indeed help in this endeavour.
Food systems approach: The second article suggests broader food systems approach to food policy.
Farm-to-schools programs: In this program, vegetables and fruits can be delivered from farm directly to the schools. This scheme could help bring agricultural and health policies together.
Incorporating sustainability into the Dietary Guidelines: Although the USDA rejected the suggestion of incorporating food sustainability in the guidelines, the experts suggest public debate and voicing of opinions to drive a change. The topic of food sustainability would address ways by which food habits affect the planet's health
Promoting antibiotic use in food animal production: In 2013 the FDA issued voluntary guidelines on antibiotic use in food animal production for growth promotion. Antibiotics fed in small amounts to animals could introduce antibiotic resistance among the population.
Talking about the need for change, experts said, "In a world of limited resources and growing populations, it's past time to stop dumping our good food in the landfill. Cutting food waste in half is doable, and public health is part of the solution."
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