Throw­ing away food is like steal­ing from the poor and hun­gry

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - OPINION - Fr Michael Com­mane

HAVE you no­ticed the eye-catch­ing ad­ver­tise­ments that Tesco are cur­rently run­ning on food waste? Tesco is promis­ing in its ad­verts that by 2020 ‘ no good food will go to waste in Tesco Ire­land stores’. In an­other ad­vert they tell the reader that they be­came the found­ing part­ner of FoodCloud in 2013 and have since then do­nated four mil­lion meals to those in need. That works out at the com­pany do­nat­ing 40,000 meals each week from their stores.

Tesco are not the only food out­let in­volved in mak­ing cus­tomers aware of the scan­dal of food waste. Aldi have part­nered with FoodCloud, a not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion which aims at ad­dress­ing the prob­lem of food waste and food poverty. By part­ner­ing with FoodCloud, Aldi stores do­nate sur­plus food to char­i­ties and com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions. Other su­per­mar­kets too are cham­pi­oning the cause.

On Tues­day of the week be­fore last there was a sen­tence in the Gospel read­ing at Mass which read: ‘ Take noth­ing for the jour­ney: nei­ther staff, nor haver­sack, nor bread, nor money; and do not have a spare tu­nic’. (Lk 9: 3) It set me think­ing about the amount of food we waste. The sta­tis­tics are shock­ing.

In Ire­land ev­ery year we throw out one mil­lion tonnes of good food. It means that ev­ery house­hold wastes €700 worth of food on an an­nual ba­sis. It’s worth not­ing that one in eight peo­ple in Ire­land ex­pe­ri­ences food poverty. Across the Euro­pean Union 100 mil­lion tonnes of food are binned.

Not for me to in­ter­fere in the in­ter­nal af­fairs of the United States of Amer­ica, still it’s worth not­ing that 44 per cent of all the food they pro­duce eaten.

While we in the de­vel­oped world waste ob­scene quan­ti­ties of food, of the seven bil­lion peo­ple on the planet, one bil­lion have not got enough to eat. It sounds crazy and it is crazy. These fig­ures are sim­ply shock­ing and scan­dalous. What are we do­ing about it? What am I do­ing about it?

While it is great to see the su­per­mar­kets be­ing con­cerned about food waste it seems there is some am­bi­gu­ity about how they market their pro­duce. How of­ten do we see ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns of­fer­ing buy-one-get one-free or buy €X amount of gro­ceries and you get a ‘free-gift’. It’s is never as if the su­per­mar­kets ignite a be­hav­iour in us that wants us to fill our fridges and shelves and re­ally they’re not too wor­ried what we do with it. Of course they want to make prof­its for their companies/share­hold­ers. Still, su­per­mar­kets need to be more re­spon­si­ble in their mar­ket­ing and how they go about sell­ing their pro­duce.

We never have a prob­lem blam­ing some­one else for all our woes. But if this col­umn makes one per­son waste less food this week then hon­estly I’ll be chuffed with my­self. Do you know how much food you waste? When did you last bin food be­cause it was gone bad?

We should be wast­ing noth­ing. Imag­ine the hul­la­baloo that would emerge if ev­ery house­hold was or­dered to pay euro-for-euro for the food they waste? There would be a national outcry. Yet these same house­holds qui­etly and eas­ily bin €700 worth of food on an an­nual ba­sis. And even pay to bin it.

Wise words from Pope Francis: ‘ Throw­ing away food is like steal­ing from the ta­ble of those who are poor and hun­gry.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.