ISLAMABAD –About one-third of all food produced for human consumption goes to waste, according to a study commissioned by the United Nations food agency.
That amounts to more than one billion tonnes of waste around the world every year. The study recommends that developing countries should improve production and distribution, so as to stop losing so much food. It also says industrialised countries must stop throwing so much away.
The UN study, by the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology, was aimed at an international trade fair for the food packaging industry, to be held in Germany later this month.
Among the key findings are that consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food, 222 million tonnes, as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa.
Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that fruit and vegetables including roots and tubers go to waste more than other types of food. But the report, entitled Global Food Losses and Food Waste, has a different analysis of the problem for different types of economy. Commissioned by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), it distinguishes between food loss and food waste.
Losses happen during the production, processing and distribution of food.
They affect developing countries worst. The answer is to improve technology and infrastructure, the study says. Food waste is the big issue in industrialised countries. It is mainly due to retailers and consumers throwing perfectly edible food into the bin.
Waste amounts to around 100kg (more than 200lb) per consumer in Europe and North America every year.Consumers in sub-Saharan Africa and most of Asia each throw away just 6-11kg. At retail level, large quantities of fresh food is wasted because of the way it looks. The Swedish researchers reviewed surveys showing that consumers were willing to buy produce that looks imperfect, as long as it is safe and tastes good.
Customers have the power to influence quality standards and should do so, the report says. And it criticises “buy one, get one free” promotions for their tendency to lead to waste.
Food loss and waste are also a major squandering of resources water, land, energy and labour and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
Junk food linked to asthma, eczema in children
Eating junk food just three times a week may lead to asthma and eczema in children, scientists have found.
A research project involving more than 50 countries found that teenagers who ate junk food three times a week or more were 39 per cent more likely to get severe asthma. Younger children were 27 per cent more at risk. Both were also more prone to the eye condition rhino conjunctivitis, according to The Sun newspaper.
But just three weekly portions of fruit and vegetables could cut that risk by 14 per cent in the younger group and 11 per cent among the teens, it is believed.
Researchers from New Zealand’s Auckland University looked at the diets of 181,000 youngsters aged six to seven and 319,000 aged 13-14.
The scientists then asked if the children had allergy symptoms.
They wrote in the journal Thorax, where the study is published: “Fast food may be contributing to increasing asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema.
“Regular consumption of fruit and vegetables is likely to protect against these diseases.” In the UK alone 1.1 million children already suffer with asthma and one in five get eczema.
The team of researchers warn that their results do not prove cause and effect.
World Cancer Day will be observed on February 4
World Cancer Day will be observed on February 4 across the world including Pakistan with an aim to create awareness among public about the disease. Several public and private hospitals and medical institutions will arrange number of activities to mark the day to promote ways to ease the burden of disease and raising quality of life for cancer patients.
Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world as WHO estimated that 84 million people would die of cancer between 2005 and 2015. The main types of cancer leading to overall cancer mortality each year are as lung 1.4 million deaths per year, stomach 866,000 deaths, liver 653,000 deaths, colon 677,000 deaths and breast 548,000 deaths.
According to health experts cancer is the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells. It can affect almost any part of the body and the growths often invade surrounding tissue and can metastasize to distant sites. They claimed that many cancers can be prevented by avoiding exposure to common risk factors, such as tobacco smoke. In addition, a significant proportion of cancers can be cured, by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, especially if they are detected early.
Health experts say early detection of cancer greatly increases the chances for successful treatment. There are two major components of early detection of cancer including education to promote early diagnosis and screening, they added.
They said early diagnosis is particularly relevant for cancers of the breast, cervix, mouth, larynx, colon and rectum, and skin. Some early signs of cancer include lumps, sores that fail to heal, abnormal bleeding, persistent indigestion, and chronic hoarseness.