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The food waste scandal

News Section Icon Published 16/10/2013

The meat equivalent of 50 million chickens, 1.5 million pigs and 100,000 beef cattle is being wasted by UK households every year, according to new estimates Compassion has released for World Food Day on October 16th.

We've also calculated the retail sector, in fresh meat alone, wastes the meat equivalent of 16 million chickens, 400,000 pigs and 50,000 beef cattle per year.

The estimates for the hospitality sector are just as shocking. The sector throws out the equivalent of around 6 million chickens, 150,000 pigs and 20,000 beef cattle each year.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's World Food Day this year is dedicated to Sustainable Food Systems, which are sorely needed with a reported one billion people in the world undernourished.

Compassion's estimates are based on waste figures from WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme).

In each case the waste is avoidable since the meat could be consumed.

Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion, says: "These waste figures are staggering. If we want a food system that can support our ever-growing population, we have to stop wasting food".

For every 100 food calories of edible crops fed to livestock, we get back just 30 calories in the form of meat and milk, a 70 per cent loss.

Philip adds: "We can build a sustainable food system by using simple common sense. We can feed appropriate food waste to pigs and poultry, make sure cattle and sheep are farmed on the land, so they can convert plant life that humans can't eat into meat and milk. We can stop feeding fish to intensively farmed animals and feed it to people instead and cut down on the terrible amount of food that we waste."

On Tuesday 15th October Philip spoke about the issue of food waste at an All Party Parliamentary Group of Agroecology in Westminster.


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