Food Waste in the World

In this week’s reading we focused on food waste throughout the world. Each year nearly 30% of the world’s farmland is used to grow food that is not eaten, adding up to 4 billion tons of food waste. Food waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and cost inefficiencies. We are always looking for innovators and start-ups that can use technology to reduce this waste.

Fixation with food safety means so much of it goes to waste on the Irish Independent

One of the smallest steps to combat food waste begins in the kitchen – stop throwing away good food. Many consumers are misled by the “best by” and “sell by” dates, thinking it relates to the safety of the food when it reality they are for manufacturer’s use. In fact 9 out of 10 Americans discard food solely based on the label expiration dates. The misconception of these labels has lead to 40% of food waste in America. In addition, food waste attributes to the cost of resources used in production. Developing countries, however, only throw away 4% to 16% of their food, making food waste at the consumer level largely a developed country problem.

Food Waste Has a Big Impact on Climate, Water, Land and Biodiversity by Bill Benedetto on Triple Pundit

Economically speaking, food waste totals up to $750 billion each year. In addition to large economic losses, food waste is severely harming the environment. As seen on FOA’s Food Wastage Footprint food waste produced 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases alone. The discarded food takes up 1.4 billion hectares of land, equal to 30% of agriculture land. In response to these shocking statistics UNEP and FAO partnered up to bring Think Eat Save – Reduce Your Foodprint,  a campaign dedicated to reducing annual food waste. With the help of all the countries, economies can transition to a low carbon, efficient, and green economy.

If Food Waste Were a Country, It Would Rank No. 3 for Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Darry Hannah on EcoWatch

If the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by food waste were measured as a country, it would produce more GHG emissions than every country except the U.S. and China. Alongside food waste, factors like overfishing, runoff water, and fracking have all added to the destruction of our food systems. Simple improvements in precision application or resource efficiency, such as keeping organic waste out of landfills and manure out of ponds, can reduce these emissions. Many technologies are emerging to promote precision application that will play a big role in reducing the negative environmental impact of the environment.

Improving Food Safety and Quality In China by Junyu Wang and Hao Min on RIFD Journal

After suffering several plagues of tainted food, China has a come up with way to track the quality and safety of food. The tracking system is divided into three different levels focused on sensing, communicating, and applying. The technology behind the tracking and data transfer is wireless non-contact radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, also known as RFID tags. RFID tags enable farmers, retailers, government officials, analysts and consumers to track food from the moment it’s produced to the moment it is purchased. This advancement will improve the safety of food as well as reduce the food waste. With the system in use, retailers can manage their stocks without over buying and consumers can check expiration dates.

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