World food day is celebrated every year on October 16, 2020 every year for awareness on food security. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations had declared World Food day on 16th October in the year 1975 to create awareness on food shortage.
“Grow, Nourish and Sustain together” is the theme of this year. According to facts provided under FAO’s website, nearly 690 million people are hungry, up by 10 million since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic could add between 83-132 million people to this number, depending on the economic growth scenario. Approximately 14% food is lost each year by the time it reaches the market and further wastage occurs at the commercial and retail levels. India also ranked 102nd at Global Hunger Index out of 117 countries in 2019. Hence it is important that we seriously think about food security and safety.
How to avoid food wastage at a personal level:
- Don’t throw away leftovers: Leftovers from certain vegetables can be used instead of throwing them away. The stocks can be used in making soups, chutneys, etc. (eg: carrot greens). Peels of certain fruits like oranges can be used to prepare marmalade. Bread crumbs can be used for making cutlets and the list is endless!
- Don’t shop excess: It is important that we do not buy a lot of things. The majority of the food items remain unused and become spoilt. Shop for only required items and do not unnecessarily hoard.
- Storage of food: It is important to store foods at a proper temperature. Perishable items like chicken, fish require a refrigerator and should not be kept at room temperature for long. It is also important to keep away fruits like banana or strong smelling vegetables away from perishables as they emit a strong odor.
- Preservation: Certain foods can be pickled to increase their shelf life for eg: cabbage, beetroot, carrots, onions, and even eggs! Cooking certain foods also increases their shelf life.
- Practice FIFO: The term FIFO refers to first in first out. It means move newer products to the back end or lower end of the fridge and older products to the front or upper end. Leftovers can be placed at the front end of the fridge.
- Expiration and best before dates: Look up at expiration and best before dates of foods before buying them. The expiration date indicates that beyond the given date a food is no longer safe to consume whereas a best before date indicates that after a given date food may lose its certain properties like texture, nutrients, flavor, etc but it might still be safe to consume. Hence it is important to understand the significant difference between both the terms as it prevents food wastage.
These little things we do at a personal level can definitely save us a lot of money, time and prevent food wastage.