Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Reducing Food Loss and Food Waste

Decreasing the amount of food wasted from point of harvest to market and taking only the amount of food you intend to eat are two ways to help deal with the need for more food in today’s world.
However in order for this effort to have an impact, much information needs to be shared and changes need to take place.  Leaders across the board in a place like the #Philippines first need to understand what #FoodLoss and #FoodWaste means, and what can be done to help prevent it. 

Temperature abuse

To reduce food loss and food waste, producers need to be able to produce #QualityFood, with enough volume and at the right price and then get it to market in good condition. 

Perishable commodities require a different type of attention and marketing than non-perishable commodities.  Canned goods can do just fine in a hot warehouse for weeks on end.  But frozen foods require a constant negative temperature and that temperature should not vary.  When someone allows frozen produce or products to heat up and then get cold again, this is called temperature abuse!  Companies like McDonalds are extremely strict about such infractions with their frozen food products and will reject any shipment that has been recorded to have experienced temperature abuse. 

Inefficiencies, ignorance, mistakes

Producers, buyers and consumers need to understand that different perishable commodities, grown in different parts of the country have widely varying requirements for effective marketing and food loss prevention. 

Much depends on what infrastructure is available and how far away the end point markets are, unless a sophisticated transport and transfer system is in place that maintains the freshness of the food or food product. 

Sometimes the biggest food loss is something unseen or invisible.

It occurs before harvest and is due to production inefficiencies, ignorance or mistakes.  An implemented incorrect production practice can destroy food on the tree or vine which never has a chance to get harvested or enter the food distribution chain. 

Government role

Many food processors are not enthusiastic about working with perishable commodities like meat or frozen foods.  It is much easier to aggregate, store, process and ship things like coconut, rice, corn or cacao since special refrigerated handling is not required beyond the normal sanitary practices of a food processing industry.

The government has a role in reducing food loss and food waste but often officials are unaware or oblivious of their potential problem-solving role or that problems even exist and what they might do to help improve issues in this regard. 

Post-harvest losses show up when production inefficiencies and poor handing practices are not corrected. Teaching producers about the basics of food handing and what restrictions and practices must be followed for food to be sold to consumers here and abroad should be basically understood by all officials, producers and even consumers…if they want to eat nutritious and health giving food. 

This country does not need an academic approach to this problem but rather one that involves consumer and producer education alike, and helps people understand how decreasing waste can help increase wealth for this country and its citizens.