From: University of Edinburgh
Published February 22, 2017 07:00 AM

Fifth of food lost to over-eating and waste

Almost 20 per cent of the food made available to consumers is lost through over-eating or waste, a study suggests. 

The world population consumes around 10 per cent more food than it needs, while almost nine per cent is thrown away or left to spoil, researchers say.

Efforts to reduce the billions of tonnes lost could improve global food security – ensuring everyone has access to a safe, affordable, nutritious diet – and help prevent damage to the environment, the team says.

Global system

Scientists at Edinburgh examined ten key stages in the global food system – including food consumption and the growing and harvesting of crops – to quantify the extent of losses.

Using data collected primarily by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the team found that more food is lost from the system than was previously thought.

Food losses

Almost half of harvested crops – or 2.1 billion tonnes – are lost through over-consumption, consumer waste and inefficiencies in production processes, researchers say.

Livestock production is the least efficient process, with losses of 78 per cent or 840 million tonnes, the team found. Some 1.08 billion tonnes of harvested crops are used to produce 240 million tonnes of edible animal products including meat, milk and eggs.

This stage alone accounts for 40 per cent of all losses of harvested crops, researchers say.

Continue reading at the University of Edinburgh.

Food waste image via Wikimedia Commons. 

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