EUROPE - 50 Million Tons of Food Wasted

Arno Froese

More than a third of farmed fruit and vegetables never makes it on to shop shelves because it is misshapen or the wrong size, according to research.

A university study estimated that over 50 million tons of fresh produce grown across Europe is discarded annually, mainly because it does not meet supermarkets’ and consumers’ standards of how it ought to look.

In the UK, the figure stands at up to 4.5 million tons, the team suggests.

The research paper described food loss and waste (FLW) as “one of the great scourges of our time,” when 10% of the world’s population is chronically hungry.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, who examined how much food is discarded within the European Economic Area (EEA) each year before it reaches the point of sale.

“The food distribution sector in Europe and the UK is oligopolistic in nature; a small number of supermarket chains control a large market share. The influence of these ‘multiples’ enables them to impose additional proprietary ‘quality’ criteria.

“Produce that doesn’t meet these standards may be lost from the food supply chain, never seeing a supermarket shelf—it may not get past the supplier, or even leave the farm.”

The team said they found few direct measurements of such losses, but continued: “We estimate avoidable FLW from on-farm cosmetic grade-outs of up to 4,500 kt yr (4.5 million tons per year) in the UK and 51,500 kt yr (51.5 million tons per year) in the European Economic Area (EEA).

“Our estimates suggest over a third of total farm production is lost for aesthetic reasons.”, 19 August 2018

Arno's commentary

Europe has the world’s strictest laws covering food production, from the farm to the grocery shelves. Whenever an unusual disease is discovered, scientists in most cases point their finger to the farm. But the truth cannot be denied that the quality of farm products has reached the highest level ever in human history. The abundance of virtually perfect looking fruits and vegetables in the supermarket testify to the agricultural super-success.

That, incidentally, is another stepping stone toward independence from God and dependence on man’s own created technology. 

Here we are reminded of Ezekiel 16:49: “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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