03 July 2008

Wasted Food

This morning I discovered the Wasted Food blog. If you have anything lurking in your refrigerator, you will feel guilty after reading a bit of this blog. We try to eat the leftovers but it turns out there is no try, only do. Trying will not actually clean out the fridge and prevent food from being thrown out. Think about how much money you're spending on that food (and the gas it may have taken you to get to the store) every time you throw it away uneaten.

And then think about one reason some of those food prices are so high: The farms, processors, and wholesalers are throwing away food before it even gets to your store. If the banana is too straight or the cucumber is too curved, they don't make it to market. In the U.K., a fruit stand owner was forced to throw away thousands of kiwi fruit because the EU deemed it was too small to sell, by about 1 millimeter in diameter (full story at MailOnline).

I feel ill thinking about all the food and money we've wasted over the years. Apparently when we get to Burundi, if we have domestic help, they'll just take any food that we're getting ready to throw away. Americans can afford to waste food, but Burundians cannot. For most families, every scrap is prized.

Is there really a global food shortage or is the food just not distributed evenly around the world? Remember the rice scare a few weeks back, when it was big news that warehouse stores like Costco were limiting customers to five bags of rice? (Um, an inflated story to drive people to stores to buy stuff, anyone?) Well, aren't we lucky that there was enough in stock that five bags per customer were available? In parts of Asia and Africa riots broke out because families couldn't even buy one bag.

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