627. International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste
September 29 is the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste designated by the United Nations. In Japan, food that is produced but not consumed is often referred to as food loss, but globally, there are two types of food loss and waste, depending on the stage at which the food is lost — food loss (food lost before reaching retail) and food waste (food discarded by retailers and consumers). When referring to both, as in the case of today's International Day, we use the term food loss and waste.
Since 2014, the number of people suffering from hunger has gradually increased while large amounts of edible food are lost and thrown away every day without being eaten. It is estimated that approximately 14% of food produced globally is lost between harvest and retail, and 17% of total global food production (11% at home, 5% in the food service industry, and 2% in the retail sector) is wasted. Food loss and waste accounts for 38% of the total energy used in the global food system.
Food loss and waste erodes the sustainability of the food system. When food loss occurs, all resources used to produce food are wasted, including water, land, energy, labor and capital. In addition, landfill disposal of discarded food leads to greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to climate change. Food loss also negatively impacts food security and food availability and causes the cost of food to rise.
Therefore, there is a need to focus on adopting integrated approaches designed to reduce food loss. Effective use of food requires global and local action. The introduction of technology, innovative solutions such as e-commerce platforms for marketing and retractable mobile food processing systems, new ways of working, and food quality control will be key to achieving this transformation.
The International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste is an opportunity to call for action and prioritize public (national or local) and private (companies and individuals) actors to build a better food system and drive change toward food loss reduction.
We, too, can make a big impact on the world by making small changes in our daily habits, such as making healthier food choices, buying only what we need, not judging vegetables by their appearance, and making sure we understand label expiration dates correctly. Let's take action to reduce food loss for the good of people and the planet.
UN International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction 29 September. https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-food-waste-day/ Accessed on Sep 26, 2022.
FAO. 15 quick tips for reducing food waste and becoming a Food hero. https://www.fao.org/fao-stories/article/en/c/1309609/ Accessed on Sep 26, 2022.
Contributor: SHIRATORI Sakiko (Information and Public Relations Office)
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