MEC offers tips to reduce food waste
June 04 2017 09:43 PM
MEC Qatar
.

Doha

The Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) has offered a number of tips and guidelines to reduce food waste, one of the most important economic and social challenges around the world.

These tips come within the framework of the MEC’s awareness campaigns throughout the month of Ramadan under the theme ‘Aqal_Min_Al_Wajeb’, Arabic for ‘#The_Least_We_Can_Do’. The initiatives aim to promote awareness among consumers about their rights and duties and help them plan and make appropriate decisions throughout the holy month, the ministry has stressed.
A statement from the MEC explains that the “causes of food waste vary from one country to another but depend largely on local conditions”. Food waste could be related to crop production, infrastructure, supply chains, distribution channels and consumer purchasing practices, it notes.

• What is food waste?

The ministry defines wasted food as either food destroyed or disposed before being consumed or food unsuitable for human consumption at various levels of the food supply chain - from production to household consumption. It also highlights the importance of efficient food consumption and avoiding waste from an Islamic perspective.
The ministry says about 1bn people suffer from famine around the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, while an estimated 1.3bn tonnes of food worth more than $1tn is wasted per year, which is the equivalent of four times the amount needed to tackle the global famine crisis.
It also observes that the annual food waste in rich countries is about 220mn tonnes, almost the equivalent of the total food production in sub-Saharan Africa. In other words, a reduction of 30% in food waste across rich countries could solve food shortage in sub-Saharan Africa, the statement adds.
Meanwhile, food waste in the Near East and North Africa (the majority of Arab countries) is estimated at 250kg per person per year while it is estimated at 115kg per person in European and North African countries. Also, according to EcoMENA, 25% of food is wasted throughout the holy month of Ramadan.

• Preventive measures to reduce food waste

The ministry has called on consumers to take some precautionary measures to reduce food waste, such as planning and committing to a weekly or monthly food budget in addition to purchasing less food when shopping.
The MEC statement notes that some food products expire before being consumed, urging consumers to regularly check their products’ expiry date, while also observing that improper food storage affects the expiry period.
Consumers should estimate the quantity of food consumed per person to reduce waste and avoid the preparation of large food quantities, the ministry has advised, adding that the amount of meals prepared should correspond to the number of people.
• Proposals to reduce and solve the challenge of food waste
The MEC has made proposals to reduce food waste such as the reuse of food. For instance, old lemons can be used to clean refrigerators while food leftovers can be recycled into fertilisers. Leftovers can be also packed in clean and neat dishes and distributed to the poor.


 

Food for thought

• The amount of food wasted is estimated at 1.3bn tonnes per year
• The annual food waste in rich countries is about 220mn tonnes
• 25% of food is wasted throughout the holy month of Ramadan
• The amount of food wasted in the Near East and North Africa (the majority of Arab countries) is estimated at 250kg per person per year



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