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Report: Half the World's Food Goes to Waste

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Half of the food produced on earth fails to ever reach a human mouth, according to a new report.

The U.K.-based Institution of Mechanical Engineers says “inadequate infrastructure and storage facilities,” as well as “overly strict sell-by dates, buy-one-get-one free offers and consumers demanding cosmetically perfect food,” all contribute to the problem.

According to the report, up to 2 billion tons of food goes to waste every year.

The author of the report is urging change, especially in light of a growing global population.

“If we can cut out this waste, then we can go a substantial way towards feeding the world's population,” said Dr. Tim Fox at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

“It really shows that we don't have to focus entirely on consuming more land, more energy and more water to feed the world which is a big concern to us. We can actually start to focus on saving food and thereby providing enough produce to feed the world.”

The United Nations estimates there may be three billion more mouths to feed by the year 2100.

The report makes the following recommendations:

1. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) works with the international engineering community to ensure governments of developed nations put in place programmes that transfer engineering knowledge, design know-how, and suitable technology to newly developing countries. This will help improve produce handling in the harvest, and immediate post-harvest stages of food production.

2. Governments of rapidly developing countries incorporate waste minimisation thinking into the transport infrastructure and storage facilities currently being planned, engineered and built.

3. Governments in developed nations devise and implement policy that changes consumer expectations. These should discourage retailers from wasteful practices that lead to the rejection of food on the basis of cosmetic characteristics, and losses in the home due to excessive purchasing by consumers.

Click here for more on this report.

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