Report: World produces 4 billion tons of food, half wasted - KMSP-TV

Report: World produces 4 billion tons of food, half wasted

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Anyone who has been to a restaurant -- or even a family dinner table -- knows that a lot of food gets wasted, but a new report found that half of the food produced in the world goes to waste.

The reasons are many -- from poor harvesting, storing and transportation to irresponsible retailer behavior and personal waste.

The world produces about 4 billion metric tons of food annually, but a newly-released report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers estimates between 1.2 and 2 billion of is never eaten.

Considering that the world will have to feed 8 billion people in just 30 years and 9.5 billion by 2050, the amount of waste is of serious concern.

The numbers break down like this:

30 percent of what is harvested from fields never reaches stores due to trimming, quality selection and failure to conform to cosmetic criteria

30-50 percent of what is bought in developed companies is thrown away by consumers -- often because of poor understanding of "best before" and "used by" dates.

A "use by" date implies there is a health risk associated with using food after the given date; however, a "best before" date is a reflection of quality. After the date passes, the food is not necessarily harmful, but it may lose flavor and texture.

So, what can be done? FOX 9 News spoke with Bob Branham, founder of a food waste mitigation company and the former co-chair of the U.S. Food Industry Food Waste Coalition, to learn what consumers can do at home and how waste affects the market.

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