World, Economy

Nearly 60 pct of food produced in Canada wasted: Report

At least 32 pct of food waste can be cut, diverted to support people in need, says Toronto-based food rescue firm

Nearly 60 pct of food produced in Canada wasted: Report

By Seyit Aydogan


Some 58 percent of all food annually produced in Canada is lost or wasted, a food rescue organization revealed on Thursday.

According to a report published by Toronto-based Second Harvest, some 35.5 million tons have been lost or wasted out of the 61.2 million tons of food produced in a year in the country.

The report -- titled the Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste -- showed that 32 percent, or some 11.2 million tons of wasted food could be avoided annually via redirecting the edible food to support the needy communities across Canada.

The highest rate of food waste took place during the processing and manufacturing phase, which left some 4.82 million tons of food out of the supply chain, which was equal to nearly 21 billion Canadian dollars ($15.8 billion), it said.

Meanwhile, 2.38 million tons of food -- amounting to some 10.37 billion Canadian dollars ($7.8 billion) -- have been wasted at the consumer (retail, hotels, restaurants and institutions) level.

Based on the consumer value of food, the value of avoidable lost and wasted food equated to 49.5 billion Canadian dollars (around $37.3 billion), which represents 51.8 percent of money Canadians spent on food purchased from retail stores on a yearly basis.

The study also noted that the value of this potentially rescuable lost and wasted food could be enough to feed every Canadian for five months.

Food waste 'also harmful for environment'

The report also underlined the environmental effects brought along with the food waste.

It stressed that 56.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions are created by food waste in Canada annually.

"Food that ends up in landfill creates methane gas which is 25 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide," it said.

The report revealed that around 4 million Canadians -- including 1.4 million children -- struggle to have access to healthy food.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted worldwide.

Second Harvest -- founded in 1985 -- is the largest food rescue organization in Canada, which works across the supply chain from farmer to retail to capture surplus food before it ends up in the landfill, according to it's website.

* Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara contributed to this story

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