Pope Francis enters the war on food waste – but what can be done?

Newly elected Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, leads a a mass with cardinals at the Sistine Chapel. Credit: Reuters
Pope Francis is an outspoken advocate for the poor.
Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis added his voice to the growing campaign against food waste on World Environment Day, attacking a “culture of waste” that is “stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry.”

The pontiff’s speech at the Vatican this week follows a U.N. food agency research finding that one-third of food produced in the world is lost or wasted. The body claims this has a devastating impact on global issues including poverty, pollution, gender inequality and climate change.

Awareness of the campaign has grown rapidly, with the European Parliament recently adopting a resolution to halve food waste in member states by 2025. There have already been successes, such as household waste in the U.K. dropping 8 percent over two years.

Activists welcomed the pope’s remarks. “It is important, and what he said was right,” said Tristram Stuart, founder of activist group Feeding the 5000, part of the EU FUSIONS initiative (Food Use of Social Innovation by Optimizing Waste Prevention Strategies). “Wasting imported food means the locals in food-insecure areas cannot buy it, so it is taken off their table.”

But the focus should be more on the suppliers, Stuart claimed. “Retailers shouldn’t deflect attention to the consumer; most food waste is in the supply chain. But consumers have the responsibility to ensure the businesses we buy from every day are held to account.”

One strategy is to audit the supply and release comprehensive figures on waste, with several European parliaments considering such proposals. Stuart is optimistic that agreements can be reached. “Compared to other campaigns like climate change, food waste is something that strikes people as instinctively wrong, from a taxi driver in Delhi to a CEO in New York, and there are relatively simple solutions.”

International supermarkets have been slow to commit to waste-cutting proposals, but Charlie Clutterbuck of the U.K. Food Ethics Council recommends people can influence them by buying closer to home. “Localism is a solution,” he told Metro. “If there is a network to link local initiatives it will stop food prices rising, make us less dependent and change the supply model.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

NBA

Knicks wrap up season with win over Raptors

The Knicks wrapped up their season as it began — undermanned — but that still didn’t deter them from ending it the right way.

MLB

Adam Warren closes out doubleheader sweep for Yankees

Adam Warren navigated a tricky ninth inning earn the Yankees a 2-0 victory over the Cubs.

NHL

Marc Staal healthy, eager to contribute to Rangers…

Marc Staal remembers the feeling of helplessness watching his teammates compete for hockey’s ultimate prize and being unable to contribute.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.