Throwing good food away? Let me have it.

Image credit: Love Food Hate Waste NZ

I grew up in an environment surrounded by people who taught me that food is something that cannot be taken for granted … when you are lucky enough to have it.

My great-grandparents lived through both world wars and there were days when they didn’t have much to eat – let alone potatoes. My grandfather used to have a massive garden where he grew his own vegetables; my grandmother then made jams, soups and all sorts of foods that she stored in preserving jars. It was hard work.  My parents had — and still have — no tolerance when it comes to wasting food. When I was young, they were always there to remind me that I should finish my plate; if I didn’t, however, I would have to eat it later, whether I liked it or not. This is probably why I cannot bear seeing someone carelessly scraping a whole plate of perfectly edible but unwanted food in the bin.

The worst thing is people who do that tend to make me feel like I’m the weird one, and not them. Should I worry that I’m being tight-fisted or annoying when I tell them that they could’ve saved that food for later, just by putting it on a plate in the fridge and covering it with plastic film? Honestly now – it’s as simple as that.

Why on earth would one waste food that could be re-heated or eaten cold the following day? Cold pizza is probably one of my favourite snacks – I even have it for breakfast sometimes. Is that a quirkiness, though? I cannot imagine that someone would advocate wasting food for the pleasure of it, so, why is it then? Is it education? Are people who waste food educated to think that way and thus unaware of what they are doing? Or are they simply careless about the planet, about people all around the world who struggle to have access to food? People in Colombia, children, families, parents, pregnant mothers, queuing for hours just to buy a loaf of bread. No, not in the 1970’s but now, in 2017.

In South-Sudan, the state of famine was declared last February; 63 % of the population living in Bahr El-Gazal live in permanent food insecurity. Are people who waste food careless about those who struggle to feed their families after having paid all their bills, about homeless people who may not have had a proper meal in a few days? How can one be so reckless when throwing food away? It is still difficult for me to believe that people might have never considered that wasting food could be such an inconsiderate thing to do.

Thankfully, some countries are currently fighting against food-wasting. In February, for example, France declared it illegal for its supermarkets to throw out food that’s nearing its expiration date. The stores can either compost or donate it to charity. The country also banned putting expiration dates on certain categories of goods, such as wine and vinegar. Expiration dates are often random and don’t necessarily signify when a food may be close to spoiling. Released Dec. 1, the Food Sustainability Index ranks how well countries are performing when it comes to food waste, agricultural sustainability and addressing nutrition challenges. The report analysed all the countries in the Group of 20, which includes the largest global economies, and examined five nations from underrepresented regions, as well as 16 cities. France scored highest on the index’s metric for efforts aimed at curbing food waste.

For me, eating is not only a means to stay alive, it is a pleasure in itself. However, it seems many people just eat to stay alive; some do not seem to have any respect whatsoever towards food. Most people do not care where it comes from, how it was processed and by whom. Food is not just food, it is a tradition, a different culture in every country, a luxury.

I see people allegedly fighting for human rights and against poverty at the same time as they buy and throw away extortionate quantities of good food – it just doesn’t make any sense. See, you and I might not have any trouble buying food on a daily basis or might not even think of the possibility of being deprived of food one day; but I beg you – when and if possible, use your common sense, think, be practical; but most of all, be wary of others.  It is the essence of our humanity.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Stories

In this section

Across the site

Best of the Rest