Food Security: enough on our plates?
Published 7 April 2013
American households, according to a speaker at the American Chemical Society's meeting in New Orleans on Sunday, throw away 40% of the food they buy. For the average family of four, that adds up to 20lb by weight, or $2,000 (£1,300) a year. This is food uneaten and spoiled in refrigerators, or scraped off the plate into the waste bin. This happens in a country in which 46 million people cannot be sure of a decent meal and in which one child in five lives in poverty. Britain is not much better: half of all the food discarded in this country goes into domestic dustbins: altogether, 7m tonnes of food is wasted every year. Here, one child in four lives in poverty. [...]
Things that could be done: genetic research could offer new ways of resisting crop pests and disease; agricultural science could deliver new ways of enriching soil and enhancing yields; better education could encourage more careful preservation and use of resources. But all these would require years of concerted political engagement on an international scale. Food, either wasted on the plate or withered in the soil, is not just a problem for the market. It is a problem for the world's politicians, and one that becomes increasingly ominous, everywhere, with each successive harvest.