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More than half of food produced in Canada goes to waste - Food loss, waste costing billions while people go hungry in Canada

We Canadians are a wasteful bunch, in the energy we consume, the trash we produce, and the food that we eat.

Uh, don't eat.

According to research commissioned by Second Harvest, a Toronto-based organization that collects surplus food, 58 per cent of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted.

That's a damning, eye-opening statistic, especially when close to one-third of the 35.5 million metric tons that never make it to the kitchen or are tossed out “could be rescued to support communities across Canada.”

"According to research just released, 58 per cent of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted."
The study, "The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste," points out that four million Canadians — including 1.4 million children — “struggle to access healthy food.”

Food loss and waste (FLW) of the magnitude described in the study is hugely problematic for many reasons, beyond a shameful squandering of nutrition that would benefit people having difficulty making ends meet.

There's obviously the “enormous cost to businesses and society,” adding up to $49.5 billion being misspent each year, but there's also a “significant environmental impact,” much of which is “entirely avoidable. Food that ends up in landfill creates methane gas which is 25 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide.”

Most waste occurs during processing (34 per cent) followed by production (24 per cent). Households — you and me — account for 14 per cent.

The study suggests the way forward involves Canadians “radically re-thinking ... each stage of the value chain,” and getting behind dozens of actions it proposes to address the issues it identified.

They include best before dating practices “that have no correlation to food safety,” and fruit and vegetables seen as “blemished” and therefore unsaleable, which result in “perfectly good foods and beverages going to landfill rather than being donated.”