I'm sure all of us have been told at one time "clean your plate" or "eat all your food".  "Children are starving in China" (Africa, Ethiopia or some other foreign land).  Looks like your mother (and mine) was right.  A new report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers says we are wasting food on a global scale.  Their report claims half the food produced in the world winds up being thrown away and that is nothing to sneeze at.  The Institution says two billion tons of food is wasted each year.  That's TWO BILLION TONS of food!  According to the report the waste occurs because of a number of reasons including:

  • Poor infrastructure
  • Inadequate storage facilities
  • Get-one-free offers
  • Overstrict sell-by-dates
  • Consumer fussiness

It seems like a lot of the food donated by the United Nations and charity groups winds up being wasted because of poor storage facilities, lack of refrigeration and poor accounting and record-keeping...not to mention theft and graft I guess.

I hadn't really thought of the get-one-free offers as being wasteful but I guess when you take home more than you really need at the moment you can let stuff go bad in the fridge.  I think I've done that on occasion.

The over strict sell-by-dates I certainly can understand.  If you believe some of those labels like the ones the deli places on sliced meats you can throw away things that are at least two weeks away from spoilage.  The sell-by-dates may have been more accurate before incredibly good refrigeration of the 21st century.

Consumer fussiness is something I bet many of us are guilty of.  Sometimes one or two leaves of lettuce just seem a tad off-color, maybe a little bit brown so down it goes into the garbage disposal.  Something you might have eaten when in college because you had nothing else in the pantry now gets trashed because you can afford something greener.

Two billion tons wasted!  I guess Mom was right.  Clean your plate.