Half of the World’s Food is Wasted

February 5, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. alarming 
[uh-LAHR-ming(adj.) – disturbing or causing people to be worried or afraid
Example: The alarming increase of hungry people is one of the world’s main problems.

2. wastage [WEY-stij(n.) – the act of wasting something
Example: New laws aim to decrease food wastage.

3. expiration date [ek-spuh-REY-shuhn] [deyt(n.) – the time when food cannot be eaten anymore
Example: Clark threw out the carton of milk because the milk is past the expiration date.

4. positive [POZ-i-tiv(adj.) – good; involving advantage for someone
Example: The building of new roads is positive news for many farmers. 

5. well-received [wel- ri-SEEVD(adj.) – accepted or approved by a lot of people
Example: The government’s plan to save the environment was well-received by the people.

Read the text below.

An alarming report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Britain reveals that half of food products are wasted all around the world despite the high demand for food.

The report says that about one-third to one-half of the four billion tons of food produced yearly go to waste due to poor farming and marketing methods.

Colin Brown, one of the report’s authors, says that harvesting, storing, and transporting methods cause food wastage.  For instance, in Southeast Asia, 37% to 80% of the total rice production is wasted because most of them are shipped from far areas.

To ensure that food products reach the buyers, food should be stored, kept dry and cool, and transported immediately to the market. This would require proper infrastructure, railways and shipping methods to avoid damaging the quality of food. Sadly, farming facilities are poor in many developing countries.

However, Brown says that even in countries with advanced farming methods, food products reach expiration dates because supermarkets only choose products with attractive packaging. In countries like the UK, the European Union requires supermarkets to follow this rule.

A positive message behind this report is that the world has enough food for everyone. And if only the problems in farming and marketing are addressed, there will be no need to waste a lot of crop and forest resources.

Because of its emphasis on food wastage, the report by Brown’s group was well-received by charitable organizations, which cite that about 2.3 million children die yearly because of hunger.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         What do you think are the other causes of food wastage?
·         How can you help reduce the amount of wasted food?

Discussion B

·         Why is it important to conserve food nowadays?
·         In your opinion, how does food wastage affect the environment?


February 5, 2013