09 July, 2008

Food waste: Gordon Brown and being right in the wrong way

From the reaction that Gordon Brown got, you would think that he'd told us to finish everything on our plate, and think of the starving children in Africa...

Which is a great shame, because he has a important point. We waste far too much food (The food we waste, WRAP). It is estimated that 6.7 million tonnes of food is thrown away by households in the UK each year - working out at over £400 per household per year that travels from the shops and markets to our homes only to be put in the bin. A further 12 million tonnes come from restaurants, retailers, manufacturers, producers and the commercial sector (e.g. hospitals and schools). Waste that took energy and water and time and money to produce, and will produce greenhouse gases when it rots in landfill.

It is also a shame that the report Food Matters which the Cabinet Office has just published has been reduced in press statements and reports to the subject of food waste. There is so much more to it than that - on health, diet, food safety, production. You can download the report for yourself here. And for a sensible view on the subject, read Felicity Lawrence on the Guardian website in her comment "The real waste is to reduce a historic study to soundbites". She's also just had her new book published: Eat Your Heart Out: Why the Food Business is Bad for the Planet and Your Health


GardenGirl said...

Have you read Barbara Kingsolver's book 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle'?

It touches on this subject too, before moving on to talk about trying to eat locally.

I found it interesting and inspiring, but I certainly haven't got to her level of local eating!

Eliane said...

I have read it. You're right, it was inspiring. I also enjoyed Rosie Boycott's book Our Farm. Have you seen that?