[Reader-list] Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal
kshmendra2005 at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 19 18:58:10 IST 2009
You wrote : "The book ....... takes some case study, notably new administrative rules
around waste both domestic and industrial."
That would make it a more than worthwhile read.
There could (in my opinion) in any case be very few suggested remedies with "global" applicability. The uniqueness of social and business environments would require specific systems to be designed for them to find acceptance. But certainly a practicable working model at one place possibly could with appropiate tweaks be applied elsewhere too.
--- On Thu, 9/17/09, Jeebesh <jeebesh at sarai.net> wrote:
From: Jeebesh <jeebesh at sarai.net>
Subject: Re: [Reader-list] Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal
To: "Sarai Reader-list" <reader-list at sarai.net>
Date: Thursday, September 17, 2009, 6:20 PM
The book does go pretty deep into possible way out of this disastrous
situation. It takes some case study, notably new administrative rules
around waste both domestic and industrial.
Tristram is a freegun and gathers a lot of his food from departmental
store garbage. I have eaten lovely lunch with him with these perfectly
nice food from the garbage cans. Great Sushi and sashimi. :) This book
and his earlier one is the development of a deep philosophical
engagement with question of what we call and eat as food.
I am yet to read the book and is waiting for my copy. But have heard
him talk about the issues in the book and he approaches it from an
urgency to act on it rather than just critique.
Enjoy the book if you get your hand on it.
On 17-Sep-09, at 5:43 PM, Kshmendra Kaul wrote:
> Dear Jeebesh
> The book would be worthwhile if it gives practicable suggestions on
> HOW TO prevent or put to good use the wasateges that otherwise take
> place in homes and commercial establishments.
> Nothing in the review suggests that the book does so.
> --- On Thu, 9/17/09, Jeebesh <jeebesh at sarai.net> wrote:
> From: Jeebesh <jeebesh at sarai.net>
> Subject: [Reader-list] Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal
> To: "Sarai Reader-list" <reader-list at sarai.net>
> Date: Thursday, September 17, 2009, 12:59 PM
> dear All,
> An exceptional book has been written by a friend based in London. He
> has been in Delhi for a long period earlier and is known to many
> people on this list. The book is called Waste and is based on detailed
> research for over many years.
> Enclosing a review of the book.
> Review by Fiona Harvey
> Published: July 18 2009 01:41 | Last updated: July 18 2009 01:41
> Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal
> By Tristram Stuart
> Penguin £9.99, 448 pages
> FT Bookshop price: £7.99
> Next time you pick up a lunchtime sandwich, take a moment to think
> about where it has come from. Think of the effort it took to grow the
> wheat for the bread, to feed the cows to make the cheese, to cultivate
> the salad from seed. Imagine if you took a few bites from it and
> simply threw the rest straight in the bin. And if you did that every
> day, with everything you ate.
> Supermarkets and high-street sandwich chains regularly discard a
> quarter as many sandwiches as they sell. Most of that food is
> perfectly edible, but little of it is given away to the poor or
> homeless. Instead, it is destroyed and often sent to landfill.
> Meanwhile, 1bn people go hungry, in a globalised economy.
> Consumers are no better. In the UK alone, according to government
> estimates, a third of the food we buy goes into the bin. The appalling
> amounts wasted in restaurants and fast food eateries is another story.
> Tristram Stuart’s Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal lays bare
> our wasteful habits, from the farm to shrinkwrapped supermarket
> packaging and beyond. Stuart, a freegan and environmental campaigner,
> has based his book on painstaking research carried out over several
> years of first-hand experience of foraging in supermarket bins, as
> well as interviews with company executives and trawls through the
> meagre data provided by governments and businesses.
> The book, with 68 pages of detailed notes and 69 pages of
> bibliography, bristles with facts but points also to the huge gaps in
> our knowledge of waste. Most retailers, for instance, prefer not to
> say how much food they waste, regarding it as a trade secret. Giving
> it away would put them at a competitive disadvantage, they tell
> Waste is certainly one of the most important environmental books to
> come out in years. But it is more than that. It is an indictment of
> our consumer culture that should make us all feel deeply ashamed. The
> scale of our food waste problem – and its effect on the developing
> world – revealed in this book will leave you shocked. And, the author
> hopes, demanding change.
> Avoiding the unnecessary wasting of food is deeply ingrained in most
> cultures. “Your eyes are bigger than your belly” was how children who
> helped themselves to more than they could eat were scolded in the
> Belfast of my childhood. Those who failed to finish, or gorged
> themselves on too much, would be reminded first of the starving
> children in Africa then, for good measure, of the Irish famine of the
> . . .
> We need not go back so far to discover raw memories of food shortages.
> Rationing during the second world war and early 1950s left its mark on
> British life for decades, and famines during and following the war
> scarred Europe and parts of Asia. In the past two decades, we have
> seen famines in Africa roll horrifically across our television
> Human societies have found ingenious ways to eke out our valuable food
> resources: to store, pickle and preserve; to find uses for byproducts;
> to fatten animals on scraps; and even to burn or distil the last
> residues. Much of our cultural heritage is defined by what we eat. As
> Stuart reminds us in his chapter-heading – quotations from the Bible,
> Koran and folk sayings – we have evolved elaborate rules and customs
> that embody the imperative to use food efficiently.
> Yet our culture of thrift, built up over millennia, seems to have
> broken down within a few decades into a culture of carelessness. The
> food wasted each day in the UK and the US alone would be enough to
> alleviate the hunger of 1.5bn people – more than the global number of
> malnourished. How did this happen?
> Retailers must shoulder a large part of the blame. The illusion of
> plenty they like to foster, by constantly refilling shelves and
> ensuring there is always more food than can be bought in a day, comes
> in for an excoriating attack. These practices, in turn, force
> suppliers to overproduce for fear that if the retailer runs out of a
> product, they will be held to blame.
> If this sounds like poor economics, it isn’t. Food has become so cheap
> in most developed countries that retailers make more profit from
> selling one more sandwich than they lose from throwing it in the bin
> if it remains unsold. So overstacking the shelves is a no-brainer.
> Food producers play along because they need to keep their contracts
> with retailers, and they incorporate the cost of waste into their
> Stuart records seeing stacks of ready-meals, metres high, being
> crushed at a food producer’s plant instead of being sold. They had not
> even passed their sell-by date – it was just that the retailer decided
> it did not need so many. They were retailer branded, so could not be
> sold elsewhere. The edible food had to be landfilled.
> Red tape does not help. Confusion over best-before, sell-by and
> display-by dates causes massive waste of edible food. So did the over-
> regulation, until recently, of food sizes and shapes by the European
> Union. As a result of a knee-jerk reaction by the UK government after
> the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in 2001, food scraps from school
> kitchens and the like cannot even be given to pigs as swill.
> Stuart catalogues appalling waste all through the food supply chain:
> the farmer whose tasty, blemish-free carrots are only deemed fit to
> feed animals because they are a mite too bendy to be sold in
> supermarkets, which assume buyers can only cope with straight veg;
> retail chains that padlock their bins or deliberately spoil the edible
> contents, for fear their customers will forage in them; consumers who
> fall for buy-one-get-one-free offers to buy food they will not eat.
> Wasting food in rich countries cannot be seen in a vacuum. It has a
> disastrous effect on the poor. Cheap food is an illusion – the
> pressure on agricultural land for people to feed themselves and
> produce for export markets is causing widespread deforestation in the
> Amazon, south-east Asia and Africa, and soil degradation across the
> world. Our careless waste pushes up prices for globalised commodities
> such as grain and rice, forcing poor people to go hungry or beggar
> This book exposes all of these effects clearly, logically and
> readably. It made me more angry than any book I have read for a long
> Fiona Harvey is the FT’s environment corresponden
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