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International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste – September 29, 2023

The International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste is celebrated every year on September 29. It is a day to call to action for both the public and private sectors to prioritize actions and innovations to reduce food loss and waste in the World. This is all geared towards restoring and building back better and resilient-ready food systems. Reducing food losses and waste is of the utmost priority in a world where the number of people affected by hunger has been slowly on the rise since 2014, and tonnes of edible food are lost and/or wasted every day.

History of International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste

Food loss has been around since the beginning of time as things like spoilage couldn’t be well controlled then. Now we have the means to control a large part of spoilage but are still having food loss and wastage due to many reasons, from negligence to lack of the technical know-how, lots of things contribute to food loss and wastage.

Around 14% of food produced in the World is lost between harvest and retail, while an estimated 17% of total global food production is wasted, which comprises 11% in households, 5% in the food service, and 2% in retail. This amounts to global losses in agriculture of about 1.2 billion tonnes per year causing monetary losses in the field worth more than 350 million dollars annually. Saving just one-fourth of the food currently lost or wasted in the World could help feed 870 million people who are living in hunger as well as fight climate change as food loss and waste is responsible for about 8% of global greenhouse gas (G.H.G.) emissions, leading to a depletion of the ozone layer and causing climate change.

Food loss and waste greatly undermine the sustainability of our food systems as when food is lost or wasted, all resources used to produce it — including water, land, energy, labor, and capital go to waste. It also negatively impacts food security and food availability and contributes to increasing the cost of food. With all these, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (F.A.O.) was established in 1945 to defeat hunger in the World and they have made several strides towards achieving this, including meeting up in December 2019 to collectively establish a day for the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, of which September 29 was chosen.

International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste timeline

1945
F.A.O. Is Established

F.A.O. is established to end hunger in the World

2019
U.N. General Assembly Makes Further Strides

The International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste is established during the 74th United Nations General Assembly

2020
Food Wastage Day Is Observed

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste is observed.

2021
The Second Food Wastage Day Is Observed

The F.A.O. and UNEP issue a call to action to prioritize actions and move ahead with innovation to reduce food loss and waste towards restoring and building back better and resilient-ready, food systems.

International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste FAQs

When was F.A.O. formed?

FAO was formed on October 16, 1945, in Quebec, Canada.

What parties drive the I.D.A.F.L.W. observance?

The F.A.O. and UNEP drive the observance of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste.

Which country wastes the most food?

With an estimated 91.6 million tonnes of thrown food every year, China came in first, followed by India with 68.8 million tonnes.

How to Observe International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste

  1. Spread awareness

    Spreading awareness about the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste helps to sensitize more people to one of the major problems the world is facing.

  2. Don’t Waste Food

    Use some resources online to help you figure out what to do with some food you don’t want anymore. Take the time to learn about methods of preserving food.

  3. Join A Campaign

    Join a campaign on the cause to help the World reduce food loss and wastage. Any time is time well spent.

5 Top Tips To Reduce Food Wastage

  1. Shop smart

    While buying in bulk may be convenient, you shouldn’t buy a lot as it leads to food wastage.

  2. Properly store food

    Food, if not stored properly, would get spoiled — food like potatoes, garlic, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions should never be refrigerated.

  3. Learn to preserve

    Choose the right method of preservation for your food to avoid wastage as it isn’t one-size-fits-all.

  4. Don’t overstock your fridge

    Stock your fridge using the FIFO method, which stands for ‘first in, first out.’

  5. Eat the skin

    The skin of carrots, apples, mangoes, potatoes and the like should be eaten and not thrown away as they are very nutritious.

Why International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste is Important

  1. It raises awareness

    It raises awareness of one of the major problems in the world right now. The World needs to know about the problem so we can collectively solve it.

  2. It aims to reduce World hunger

    World hunger can be reduced if we collectively curb food loss and waste as it not just stops waste, but lowers the prices of food as well. Always keep in mind when eating or throwing out food that someone, somewhere doesn’t have a meal today.

  3. It curbs climate change

    Reducing food waste also helps in curbing climate change as greenhouse gas wouldn’t be released into the environment due to spoilage as much. This goes on to help planetary health.

International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste dates

YearDateDay
2023September 29Friday
2024September 29Sunday
2025September 29Monday
2026September 29Tuesday
2027September 29Wednesday

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