Food waste - By Marjorie Nye

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I was grateful to read Andy Mitchell’s column regarding food waste as it comes at a time we also read in The Gazette that poverty is increasing in Blackpool and of course our food banks need more to feed the many who need them.

Most of us throw a lot of food away, partly because we over indulge our buying, especially at supermarkets whose offers seduce us into purchasing larger amounts.

The facts from around the world though are horrifying as estimates show that there are about 55 million people in food poverty in Europe alone.

This food wasted throughout the continent could feed us all nine times over.

Instead it ends up in landfills or fed to livestock, because of unrealistic cosmetic standards.

The European parliament are about to vote on whether to halve Europe’s food waste by 2030.

If we could achieve this it means we reduce carbon emissions considerably.

If passed this would enter into British food law before Brexit, hopefully making it difficult for the government to renege on.

A vote therefore to cut food waste would mark a historic moment for us all as it could be the most ambitious agreement for the world facing climate change.

It would mean an end to millions of vegetables rotting in fields thought by farmers as too small or misshapen.

Also the hundreds of loaves of bread and sandwiches binned daily by many supermarkets is immense.

Our own food left rotting away in the fridge or cupboards, is heartbreaking given the global hunger including that residing on our doorstep.

I was amazed to read from a poll survey conducted by Sainsbury’s recently that only three per cent of UK householders think there is a stigma to wasting food, while many of us try to save money by switching off heating or lights to economise.

The Sainsbury’s survey of food waste shows the vast majority of people fail to see the value of watching out for household food waste, compared with many other money saving habits that have become second nature.

It is estimated that this waste costs the average family on food that is uneaten and thrown away to landfill to be around £700 per year, nearly twice which is saved on heating.

While despairing that the dumbest reasons we waste money on is due to buying too much food we do not eat, with growers and supermarkets only liking the biggest and better shaped vegetables and fruit, thus so much is left in fields.

Then much is damaged in packaging, warehouses, supermarkets, restaurants, and distribution, often described as a “farm-to- fork” problem.

While the food chain is immense between growers and retailers, it is up to us to take the problem of food waste seriously.

By avoiding the traps of buying food we don’t eat and encouraging our supermarkets to buy ugly fruit and vegetables.

Then growers will have a positive reason to pass on more of their produce, that they consider does conform to farming and supermarket standards.

I remember my Granny who always told us at the table we should be thankful and eat all our food, and think about the starving children around the world.

Why did we forget?