Food Waste a Global Issue that Jeopardizes Healthy Diet

The UN warned on Tuesday that a lack of food, hunger, and malnutrition afflicts every country in the globe, and that effort to decrease food waste is urgently needed.

The call comes as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that 17% of all food supplied to consumers in 2019 was wasted.

The COVID-19 epidemic has caused food and nutrition insecurity for an additional 132 million people, according to the FAO, ahead of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste on September 29.

At a news conference in Geneva, Nancy Aburto, Deputy Director of FAO’s Food and Nutrition Division Economic and Social Development Stream, stated that food waste is a global issue that is not limited to wealthy countries alone.

Food insecurity, hunger, and malnutrition afflict every country in the globe, and no country is immune; 811 million people are hungry, two billion are deficient in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and millions of children are stunted and wasting, which are lethal types of malnutrition.

According to the FAO official, the exorbitant cost of “healthy” diets has put them “out of reach” of every part of the world, including Europe.

She also stated that more countries should embrace innovation in order to reduce waste, such as innovative packaging that can extend the shelf-life of many goods, as well as smartphone apps that can bring consumers closer to farmers, cutting the time between harvest and plate.

Reducing food loss and waste would help agri-food systems achieve food security, food safety, and food quality while also giving nutritional results.

It would also help  “significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as pressure on land and water resources” According to FAO.

With less than nine years until the 2030 deadline, action is urgently needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 on ensuring sustainable consumption, as well as target 12.3 to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer sectors.

With only three months to go until the end of the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, FAO has reminded the world that produces promotes human nutrition and food security while striving to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

In light of the global health crisis, supporting nutritious meals to improve our immune systems is very important, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said at the start of the year last December.

He also mentioned that food loss and waste in the fruits and vegetable sector continues to be a problem with significant consequences, emphasizing the importance of innovative technologies and approaches in maintaining safety and quality, as well as increasing the shelf life of fresh produce items and preserving their high nutritional value.