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Food waste leaves a sour taste

September 29, 2009

Two items in the weekend’s newspapers caused your blogger to throw up his arms in near-despair over the chances of our society ever combating the environmental costs of wasting food.

Firstly, a reader’s question in the lifestyle pages asked whether products might still be OK to eat once they have passed their ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date – for at present he or she chucks them away.

Leaving aside the puzzling matter of why someone intelligent enough to read a newspaper cannot understand the difference between the terms ‘best before’ and ‘use by’, with behaviour like this is it any surprise that around 6.7 million tonnes of household food waste is thrown away each year?

If your blogger threw out all his food once it passed its sell-by date he would have a woefully empty kitchen.

Secondly, in the travel section there was a fawning article about a cruise holiday in which the writer reported admiringly on the huge quantities of food available on board, most of which was included in the holiday price, noting with approval the policy of throwing away everything that remains uneaten at the end of each day.  While we aren’t suggesting that bubble and squeak made from leftover vegetables would be our holiday food of choice, binning large quantities of food is not something any company should be boasting about.

And so to Monday: as if to reinforce the weekend’s reading matter, a supermarket shopper was overheard lamenting the necessity of routinely throwing away the remains of her Sunday roast pork.  For what, she asked rhetorically, can be done with the meat the next day?  Well, freezing it would be one suggestion.  And although this isn’t meant to be a cookery blog, why not heat it in curry sauce from a jar, with boiled rice on the side, for an effortless weekday supper?

According to WRAP, if we didn’t dispose of food which could have been eaten, we would save at least 15 million tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions each year – perhaps the equivalent of taking one in five cars off Britain’s roads.

Going on the anecdotal evidence above, the Government’s ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ campaign, launched nearly two years ago, has some way to go. 

More public information adverts in the weekend newspaper supplements perhaps?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Janet permalink
    October 6, 2009 10:57 am

    Nothing makes me angrier than people who throw away perfectly good food. A friend of mine throws raw meat away out of her fridge just because it does not look nice. It is a great pity the government ever introduced Sell By dates. People managed perfectly all right in previous decades and so what if one or two people get food poisoning – it still happens even with these ridiculous Best Before dates. I think we should go back to the old days and there would be less wastage.

  2. solarukweblog permalink*
    October 6, 2009 11:36 am

    Yes, what’s more there would be less wasting of raw meat if shoppers were to use their local butcher rather than a supermarket. Buying chuck steak by the kilo (or pound, if you’re not used to metric yet) in simple plain bags usually means none of the packaging beloved by the supermarkets telling us the Use By date, storage details, and all manner of other printed information. Instead, we would have to use the commonsense and instinct passed on to us by family members with a lifetime’s cooking experience. As an added bonus, there would be less of that stiff plastic packing material to have to dispose of.

    • Jemma J permalink
      December 1, 2009 11:39 pm

      Hear hear!! I couldn’t agree more. And whilst we’re on the subject, lets bring back proper family meals, eaten together round a kitchen table, with no TV in the background so that people can practice the art of good conversation whilst we’re at it!! Old fashioned perhaps, but could help solve a lot of the wider problems of today’s society.

      I cooked a casserole not too long ago using a tin of black treacle that had already been opened & was 13 years out of date … I’m still alive & it tasted delicious!!

  3. October 17, 2009 3:25 pm

    Awesome blog!

    I thought about starting my own blog too but I’m just too lazy so, I guess Ill just have to keep checking yours out.

    • solarukweblog permalink*
      October 20, 2009 10:11 am

      Savannah, you could leave a lengthy comment and state an opinion or two. You might find that the act of writing (or typing) develops your own thought processes and shapes your views – which you can then apply to your own blog if you start one.

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