Friday, October 07, 2022

About 200,000 tonnes of food is lost or wasted in Ireland each year through production from farming and fishing.

About 200,000 tonnes of food is lost or wasted in Ireland each year through production from farming and fishing.

About 200,000 tonnes of food is lost or wasted in Ireland each year through farming and fishing production, with up to 40 pcs of some vegetables discarded before being sold to consumers.

The new study by the Environmental Protection Agency has for the first time estimated the level of food waste at the primary production level in addition to the 1.1 million tons lost each year through consumers, processors and food businesses.

Researchers from Münster Technological University and UCD calculated that 189,485 tonnes of food is lost annually with particular problems with horticultural products due to conditions imposed in contracts by retailers on price and quality, and a lack of ecological and sustainable farming methods. gets wasted.

Potatoes account for about 73,000 tonnes of all food lost or wasted at the primary production stage in the republic annually, mostly as a result of problems with harvesting.

In addition, 18,000 tonnes of carrots are not salable and about 8,000 tonnes of cabbages.

The study shows that approximately 42,000 tonnes of meat is wasted annually at the primary production stage, including over 30,000 tonnes of beef and 8,600 tonnes of pork.

About 3,300 tonnes of milk are thrown away every year due to mastitis in cows.

Sudden deaths are more common in the poultry sector, where the annual waste is estimated at 1,485 tonnes, which is often attributed to farming practices that aim to feed animals faster than their natural growth rate, the study said. is to develop.

It found that more than 5,600 tons of mushrooms are thrown away every year because supermarket requests are cut off for aesthetic reasons, while more than 2,200 tons of Swedes are wasted because they are misshapen or do not meet customer specifications. Huh.

More than 700 tons of cauliflower and broccoli are discarded due to “last-minute” order cancellations by supermarkets.

Pacific oysters (2,315 tonnes) and salmon (2,061 tonnes) were the main sources of food waste in the fishing industry.

It is not possible to estimate the level of food loss due to pollution and climate change, the study said.

It also noted that rising population rates meant that Ireland would need to produce 25 pcs more food by 2050.

However, many food producers said they view wastage as an unavoidable disadvantage because they believe improving farming methods is economically impossible because of the current prices paid by processors and retailers. .

The project’s lead researcher, Jennifer Attard of the Circular Bioeconomy Research Group at MTU, said the situation posed challenges because the agricultural sector alone was already responsible for 33 pc of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Attard said exploiting the land for intensive food production has already caused soil erosion and increased overfishing has put many species at risk.

“Food waste is a social and public health issue as food poverty is experienced by 9 percent of the population,” Dr Attard said.

Government sets target to reduce overall food waste level by 505 by 2030

The study recommended that knowledge of efficient reduced food loss and waste practices should be imparted to all food producers, while unfair trade practices should be eliminated and the food supply chain shortened.

It also said that they should integrate organic practices and smart technologies in their production operations and share resources with other producers.

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