The Truth About Our Food

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In his book Waste the British writer Tristam Stuart describes how he lived from leftovers of shops for years. Why? He wasn’t poor, but he did it because he could. The shops waste so much that he couldn’t resist to do it. But what’s wrong with the food, why do they waste it? We don’t know. For some reason they think we won’t buy it. But what is the problem with it?

If we look at the wasted goods we see that the only problems are the shapes. Too bony potatoes, ovale crops of lettuce, wrong forked carrots… they all aren’t bought by shops. You might think this is only going on in the richest parts of the world, well then you are wrong. even in poor areas of the US and Europe this is going on. The only place this doesn’t happen is in third world countries in Africa.

At the same time we are just getting fat. While a Indian eats 5 kilogrammes of meat, a Dutchman eats 67 kilogrammes and an American even eats 123 kilogrammes of meat. In Europe the available calories are around 3500, and in the US it’s even 3900. And that while man needs 2500 and a woman needs 2000. If everyone in Europe would eat the required 2500 calories, between 4 and 6 people could use the other calories to become a normal fed person, as the most underfed people in the US and Europe need just 250 more.

And tonnes of food more just end in the trash can. With all that we throw away, we could feed the whole earth 3 to 25 times with all we throw away. 3 times if you only eat the best quality and 25 times if you eat everything that ain’t unhealthy. In other words, there is at the moment enough food available to feed 9 billion people if we would eat just a little bit less. And it’s a whole lot about meat. It’s natural for us to eat meat, but the way it happens in the US and Europa (and what probably is going to happen in countries like China and Brazil) is hugely inefficiënt.

About 30 percent of all teh meat is just thrown away. But it ain’t only the meat. Because wasted meat means wasted food, and wasted food means wasted grain. And that seems exactly right, because 90 percent of the wasted farmland is wasted because of animal food. Both the food and the animal require water. 100000 liters of water per kilogramme. Not wasting this all would able 9 billion people to use 200 liters of water every day, while we use 125 liters everyday now.

What we can do: Well, just not produce the food would be the best, but it’s not someting you can do by yourself. What you can do, is be less selective in choosing your foods, or eat more organ meat. The Koreans for example, who eat much organ meat, are eight times as efficient as most europeans and north-americans. If you have a garden maybe even cultivate some of your own vegetables. And don’t look at the shape, whenever it’s healthy, it’s good.

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