From: Gina-Marie Cheeseman , Triple Pundit, More from this Affiliate
Published March 30, 2016 06:39 AM

Should we be feeding food waste to livestock?

Food waste is a huge global problem. About a third of the food produced globally for human consumption, approximately 1.3 billion tons each year, is wasted or lost, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Food losses in industrialized countries add up to roughly $680 billion, with $310 billion in losses in developing countries. Produce (fruits and vegetables plus roots and tubers) have the highest rates of waste. 

Taiwan has a simple solution to reduce food waste: Feed it to livestock. The Guardian reports that Taiwan is “one of a handful of countries that have institutionalized the practice” of feeding food scraps to livestock. About two-third’s of the country’s food waste is fed to its 5.5 million pigs. Pigs are Taiwan’s biggest source of meat.

“We realized there was a lot of kitchen waste and that if we put it in incinerators it would hamper incineration because it’s wet,” Chiang Tsu-nong, deputy inspector general with the government’s Bureau of Environmental Inspection, told the Guardian. “And Taiwan’s land is limited, so if you build a landfill or an incinerator people will protest.”

Food waste to livestock in the EU and U.S.

Feeding food waste to pigs in the EU could save 1.8 million hectares of global agricultural land, an area about the size of Germany, a study released several months ago by the University of Cambridge found. Feeding wasted food to pigs would provide a use for the 100 million tons of food that is wasted in the EU every year. It would also decrease the costs European pig farmers face, in addition to decreasing the amount of land the EU pork industry needs by 21.5 percent. But there is a problem. In 2001, the EU banned the practice after the foot-and-mouth disease epidemic that same year.

Piglets on a farm image via Shutterstock.

Read more at ENN Affiliate TriplePundit.

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