From my Hide: Food wastage, and some answers…

Photo from www.playbuzz.com

I SAW a report the other day that claimed that a third of all food available in South Africa every day of every year, is thrown away.

That on the face of it seems ridiculous, except that I happen to know that the figure for food wastage in Britain is much the same.

There are a number of answers to this, but the experts suggest that we should buy only what we need or can properly store and each day prepare only as much as you are going to eat (unless, like us, leftovers are always turned into something interesting the next day).

You probably wonder what happens to all that food in the supermarkets that has ‘best by’ or ‘sell by’ dates on it.

Well, that is just an indication and means exactly what it says, it is best by that date and may be usable for a reasonable period afterwards, while the sell by date is usually on fresh products and if stored suitably, like in a refrigerator for example, it may well last a little longer.

Interestingly, British supermarkets have for years given food that has passed its best by or sell by dates on it to a Food Bank, and these institutions distribute the food to the needy.

Well, we have a similar organisation, once called Food Bank SA but now known as FoodForward SA, which does exactly the same, with manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers like all the major supermarket chains contributing food.

The full potential of over one in four children born in South Africa today is being limited and denied by a lack of access to sufficient and nutritious food. Fortunately some supermarkets are helping change that. (Picture posed)

The full potential of over one in four children born in South Africa today is being limited and denied by a lack of access to sufficient and nutritious food. Fortunately some supermarkets are helping change that. (Picture posed)

In 2015, for example, FoodForward SA distributed 11 160 000 meals made up from the 3 350 tons of food given to the organisation.

FoodForward SA works with about 600 non-profit organisations around the country which handle the distribution of the food and meals.

As a matter of interest, one locally well-represented supermarket chain I spoke to takes such best and use by food, amounting to about 1 000 tons a year, and passes it on, providing some 3-million meals for the needy.

I must assume that other supermarket chains do the same.

All good news. As it happens, both my wife and I are war babies (World War II, in case you were wondering) and grew up in families in which food wastage was simply not an option and we have stayed with that philosophy.

While we’re on the subject, a couple in Northampton in England recently treated their wedding guests to what they called a ‘freegan feast’, consisting entirely of food that had been discarded by supermarkets.

Their wedding caterer apparently only uses such foods and claims that their ‘freegan’ meals are delicious. What more can I say?

And finally, still in England and staying with food, a supermarket has removed packets of peanuts from its shelves because the packaging does not clearly state in English that it contains nuts.

You may also be interested in: PSJP donates to needy

The same supermarket is also withdrawing a brand of yogurt because the packaging does not clearly state that yogurt is made from milk.

There’s much to ponder.

Source: The Week: The Best of the British and Foreign Media, and the Internet.

David Holt-Biddle

David Holt-Biddle

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David Holt-Biddle

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