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Let's stop wasting food

Mexico throws away 20 million tons of food each year; we could feed 7.3 million of people living in extreme poverty conditions instead
Illustration by: Rosario Lucas/EL UNIVERSAL
02/01/2018
08:50
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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How much of the food served by Mexican families for the dinners of Christmas and New Year was thrown away? Maybe excessive food portions were served, perhaps the dish wasn't tasty, or people simply got tired of eating the same thing after three days. Regardless of the whys, on average, a third of the food produced in Mexico gets thrown away.

According to the report Food Losses and Food Waste in Mexico, prepared by the World Bank and featuring in an article published today by EL UNIVERSAL, Mexico throws away 20 million tons of food each year – an amount which could help feed 7.3 million out of the 53.4 million inhabitants of our country who live in extreme poverty conditions.

However, waste isn't only coming from our homes. This same report claims 72% of food waste is present at the first links of the production chain, in pre-harvest and all the way up to distribution, while the remaining 28% will be sold.

The challenge Mexico has in this regard is to channel products which will not be used at supply centers, markets, restaurants, and homes, but that are still in good conditions so they can be distributed among the poor.

This study, the first of its kind, may play a vital role in finding solutions to the problem, not only in this region but also in other parts of the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Here, the Legislative Branch is key, as we need compulsory regulations to manage food waste so shops and other businesses are able to store perishable products which they will no longer use and send them to food banks. Speaking of this, how many Mexicans are aware of the existence of food banks and how to access them, either to obtain products or donate their own?

Knowing the tons of food waste Mexico generates is the first step in food management and this is our chance to see private and public institutions open channels to allow households, distribution centers, restaurants, and the general public to donate food they no longer need. For millions of people out there, this could become their only source of nourishment.

Encouraging the population not to waste food is doing us a double favor: first, transforming us into a society committed to helping those in need, and second, contributing to the sustainability of our planet.

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