An Israeli family throws out edible food worth almost $100 a month, according to an Environmental Protection Ministry report just released.
Government data shows that nearly half the country’s garbage is made up of edible food, and that expiration dates printed on product labels are earlier than they need to be.
The estimate was published ahead of World Food Day, which was created by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to raise awareness of hunger and poverty around the world.
The Environmental Protection Ministry is not authorized to order a change in the expiration dates, so it focuses instead on educating the public to buy less and only according to actual need.
“While we fight for a reduction of the cost of living, it turns out that the use of food products in Israel is unsupervised, and in many cases there is excess consumption,” said Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz.
“The cheapest and healthiest food is the food we haven’t consumed,” he added.
Wasteful consumption has an impact beyond the family grocery bill. According to Dr. Amnon Lichter of the Department of Postharvest Science at the Volcani Center, “Figures today show that some 30 to 40 percent of food gets lost. From this figure it can be derived that there is a loss of 3.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide and 14 billion dunams [3.5 billion acres] of tilled agricultural land.
“Every year there is global agricultural production of 6.6 gigatons. According to these figures, there is a loss of some 1.3 gigatons of agricultural produce.”