#Article (Archive)

Criminal Waste!

Jul 24, 2008, 5:00 AM

It is good to read that the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is taking steps to combat the waste of food in his nation. It is however very disheartening to read of the scale of the problem there when so many people around Africa and the World as a  whole are suffering the effects of malnutrition and even starving. It is also infuriating to read that this unforgiveable waste of food is being driven by the supermarkets and food producers who lure consumers into buying more than they need with "two for the price of one" offers.

Official records revealed that Britons were throwing away groceries worth more than £1 billion a year while a cross-Whitehall study into higher food costs also identified waste as a factor. The report also further revealed that British households disposed of four million tonnes of food each year that could have been eaten by other people.

Imagine the difference this food would make to those who have nothing on our continent. It also comes at a time when the global food crisis means that food is becoming too expensive for many people to afford. Here in The Gambia families are struggling to pay for the rice that sustains them and yet because Britons, their neighbours in Europe and North Americans have more money and constitute a larger market they are pandered to with cheap food. Gordon Brown, who was also the former Chancellor, insisted that families are wasting an average of £420 a year on food which he said is not the best thing to do in current situation of food shortage. This kind of excess is leading to false demand and skewing the price of food internationally with those in poorer countries, as is so often the case, bearing the brunt. 

One instance of waste that will prove enraging for many people is the disposal of perfectly good food for cosmetic reasons. This is the situation where some farmers allegedly had to throw away up to a fifth of their crop just because supermarkets say the fruit or vegetables are the 'wrong colour, size or shape'. Waste of this kind can be rightly be described as criminal. If somebody knowingly disposes of perfectly good food while others around them starve then they are partially responsible in a way for that persons hunger. Many will say that this is an extreme view but by not interveening to save the life of the starving person when they could they must be considered culpable.

Acton must be taken by Britain and Europe on this issue because what they are doing there is affecting us adversly here.

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