A third of global food supply is wasted- Globe and Mail

Patrick Toupin of Metro Plus grocery store, packages extra food into a Moisson Montreal box, in Montreal, October 9, 2014. Metro is among grocers that have a program where food that may otherwise go to waste is donated to Moisson Montreal, one of the country's largest food drive organizers, and Metro is also considering expanding the program including to Ontario. (Christinne Muschi/Christinne Muschi/The Globe and)

 

Patrick Toupin of Metro Plus grocery store, packages extra food into a Moisson Montreal box, in Montreal, October 9, 2014. Metro is among grocers that have a program where food that may otherwise go to waste is donated to Moisson Montreal, one of the country’s largest food drive organizers, and Metro is also considering expanding the program including to Ontario.

This article is part of Globe B.C.’s eight-part weekly series on food security in Canada. Visit this page for the rest of the series so far.

At home and at work, waste-conscious Canadians such as Debra Lawson and Diana Chard have little tolerance for letting food go bad and tossing it out.

Ms. Lawson, executive director of the Toronto food-rescue organization Second Harvest, and Ms. Chard, a Halifax registered dietitian, as well as food industry members, humanitarian and environmental organizations and even some governments, are part of a massive effort to reduce food waste. Such waste is a major threat to food security, defined by the World Health Organization as the universal access to safe and nutritious foods.

A 2013 United Nations report says 1.3 billion tonnes of food, about a third of the world’s supply, are wasted annually, costing global economies $750-billion (U.S.) and negatively impacting the environment – at a time when 1.2 billion people are living in extreme poverty.

Unlike the food industry, which largely focuses on how food waste affects the bottom line, Ms. Lawson and Ms. Chard see its impact on everyday lives in Canada – where, according to research, seven billion kilograms of food (or 40 per cent of all food produced) is lost along the “food value chain” at a cost of about $27-billion.

Ms. Lawson says Second Harvest, which picks up mostly perishable foods that would otherwise have been thrown away, helps to feed 100,000 people in Toronto every month.

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MARLENE HABIB
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published