'Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good action, try to use ordinary situations' ~Jean Paul Richter
There was a free lunch on Saturday in Wolfe Tone Park, Dublin over the weekend. A huge pot of food was used to cook a meal for anyone who came along. What made the event unique was that all the food supplied was classed as 'rejects' even though the food was perfect. 20 to 40% of fruit and vegetables are rejected even before they reach the shops, mostly because they do not match the supermarkets' excessively strict cosmetic standards. Farmers cannot pass it on to the shops because of imperfections, such as carrots not straight or potatoes with unusual shapes and sizes. Such food is thrown away even though it is perfectly healthy to eat. The event on Saturday and in different parts of the world was used to highlight the huge waste of food that goes on each day.
The US and Europe have nearly twice as much food as required by the nutritional needs of their populations. But up half of the entire food supply is wasted between the farm and the fork. On average we waste up to 25% of the food we buy. All the world's nearly one billion hungry people could be lifted out of malnourishment on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted. Take for example fish; 2.3 million tonnes of fish are discarded in the North Atlantic and the North Sea each year. 40 to 60% of all fish caught in Europe are discarded, either because they are the wrong size, species, or because of the ill-governed European quota system. There are many more striking statistics, but the message is crystal clear on the importance of cutting wastage of food.
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