European Year Against Food Waste

Do you ever notice that there are no prepared sandwiches in the UK that are made with the bottom of the loaf. Where do all of those slices of bread end up? The answer is that they go to waste.

Most of the loaves have 10 slices and if two are just thrown away it means that 20% of the product will end up in the bin before even being commercialised.
We throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food from our homes every year in the UK.
Each person living in Europe throws away 179 kg of edible produce every year.

This means that a massive 1,3 billion tons of food is wasted just in the continent.
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) one third of the total production of food in the world gets wasted. Along with the food, the energy and the materials used to produce it are wasted too.

Food waste is a hot topic, especially with the financial crisis causing people to consume less and become more aware of wastage.

Discarding food damages the environment. If we all stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the CO2 impact would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 5 cars off the road, but it also means frittering away money.

In the UK alone, wasting food costs the average family with children around £680 a year. This is why the European Commission has declared 2014 as the European Year Against Food Waste.

The goal that the European Union wants to achieve is to reduce the 50 % food waste in the community by 2025.

MEPs want to prevent misuse in the EU through measures such as encouraging small- and medium-scale farming and crop production that is geared to local market demand. They also call for rethinking expiry dates on packaged foods.

Jose Graziano da Silva, general director of FAO, told 64 agriculture ministers meeting in Berlin over the weekend that consumers in rich countries dispose 220 million metric tons of food waste every year, equal to the entire food output of sub-Saharan Africa.

In the UK the wasted food is a big problem because it is not possible to feed farm animals with the leftovers of the manufacturing process.

For example, some farmers are asking to change the law because all pressed apples used to make apple juice could be eaten by pigs.

There is a similar problem with supermarkets. For example, they cannot give stale bread to charity associations or poor people and somebody who tries to take food from the bin of a supermarket could be accused of stealing.
The EU decision is the right one but the single government have to do more: change the legislation and support the awareness campaign.

Advertisements

Eve’s apple risks to disappear from Kazakhstan

In Kazakhstan the oldest apple on Earth risks to be destroyed by the wild urbanisation.

Malus sieversii, this is the name of this unique species of apple, is “only” 65 million years old but the astonish think is that it could resist to all the diseases that normally kill those fruits.

Malus does not need any of the 35 pesticides that are used to fight the parasites that infest the Snow-white fruit.

This apple is a real “living fossil”,  but now it is threatened by urbanisation.

In a press conference, few days ago, the association Alma, born two years ago to save the Malus sieversii ( “Eve’s apple”), launched its appeal.

Eve’s apple grows wild in the region of Almaty in the south east of Kazakhstan. The name Almaty means “full of apples.” For millions of years, at the foot of the Tian Shan on the border of China, this apple have grown undisturbed.

The seeds of this apple are contained in an envelope and  they can not bear fruit. This is why they need wild animals, which eat the seeds and, in the intestine, break the shells. The seeds back to the ground, germinate and grow.

To discover these apples was the Soviet biologist Nikolai Vavilov in 1929, before dying in prison, but was the agronomist Aymak Djangaliev who, in 1945, made the classification.

Only in 2010 when its the gene sequences was discovered , it turned out that the Malus sieversii was the ancestor of  all the apples of today.

The trees of this fruit are particularly beautiful, high between 20-30 meters and 2 meters wide. There’s not one that looks like another.

There are 6 thousand varieties of this apple, that unlike other wild apples, it is not small and bitter, but big and sweet. The enormous genetic diversity has made it resistant to pathogens.

So the genetic material of this apple could be crossed with the one of other apples and could seriously contribute to create more free pesticides apples.

Such work was already done in Japan with the bitter apple Malus floribunda, but it took 40 years to produce a new apple.

With the apple of Eve, according to Alma, things should be simpler. However, the real problem is deforestation.

According to Alma, already 70 percent of the apple trees are already been destroyed.

Stop long animal transports

More than one million signatures have been collected by 8hours, to ask European politicians to modify the current law that allow long animal transports.

The 8 hours campaign wants to change the current EU legislation allows for animals to be transported for several days. This has to be changed.
Live animals for slaughter should never be transported for more than eight hours.

Behind this campaign there is the association ANIMALS’ ANGELS. This organisation monitors the situation animals and they have found out how inhuman are the conditions during the transportation.

In 2010 ANIMALS’ ANGELS observed 44 irregular long distance transports within Europe – 43 were found to be carried out in a way likely to cause undue suffering to the animals.

The Animal’s Angels volunteers regularly finds animals suffering from thirst or hunger. Often the water systems are not adequate for the animal species transported, or they are constructed in a way that prevents the animals from reaching them.

Water troughs are dirty or they are not connected to the water tank, or they do not function at all. A very common problem is also the lack of space on the truck – only animals which are close to the water trough have half a chance to actually reach it.

The others go without. The result is serious dehydration, possible illness and collapse.

Unweaned calves suffer especially from lack of appropriate treatment, as they cannot be fed on board. It is not possible to work the commonly used drinking systems with the liquid necessary for unweaned calves. Also they cannot adequately use the drinking devices (bite nipples) commonly installed on
trucks. Therefore thousands of calves suffer regularly from hunger and thirst for thousands of kilometers.

Why 8hours?

Every year millions of animals are transported along European highways, and too often under unacceptable conditions.

In 2002, the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare published the report “The Welfare of Animals during Transport” concluding that animal transports, as a ground rule, should be as short as possible. This recommendation is, however, not reflected in the current EU legislation.

Even if this is an important campaign and this time something could really change, it is up to us, we can change the meat market.

On the shelves of our supermarkets we found meat from all around the world.

Very often the animals are slaughtered not in the country in which are raised. This subjects them to long trips in cattle wagons in which some of them died from the terrible conditions in which they are transported.

I am not a vegetarian but I always buy origin controlled meat and 0 km.

Meat is one of the most pollutant product that we eat. So we have to reduce our weakly consume and we have to buy only local meat.

My grandfather had a farm where he breaded calves. I milked my first cow at the age of five and I have learned from him to respect those animals.

It is not right to let them be tortured so let’s buy only the local meat from bio farms.

If you want to donate to support the campaign just go on the Animal’s Angels web site

Illegal fishing

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU) fishing is a serious global problem that contributes to overfishing, creates unfair competition, and impedes sustainable fisheries.

Next time you are going to eat sushi think of what you have in your plate. With the growing demand for fresh fish more and more speacies risk to be destroyed especially salmon and tuna. Now even if you are eating “European fish” you can not be sure that product was fished following the internationl rules.

Greenpeace have recently funded out that Spain is the country in Europe that has the biggest illegal fishing trade even if the country receives European money.

IUU fishing respects neither national boundaries nor international attempts to manage fishing on the high seas.

It puts incredible pressure on fish stocks and significantly distorts global markets.

Worth between US$10 -23.5 billion per year, it also presents a major loss of income to coastal countries and coummunities. This is especially the case for some of the world’s poorest countries, which depend on fishing for food, livelihoods and revenues.

The poachers are also killing tens of thousands of marine animals as bycatch and destroying delicate habitats through their unregulated use of damaging, and sometimes illegal, fishing practices.

On Greenpeace site is possible to sign a petition against the illegal fishing in Spain and on WWF site it is possible to support their fisheries and marine conservation work.

If you want to be sure of buying sustainable seafood you have to search Marine Stewardship Council​ (MSC) ecolabel.

On http://www.fishonline.org/ is possible to check all the species of UK seafood.  By using this site, you can find out which fish come from well-managed sources and/or are caught using methods that minimise damage to marine wildlife and habitats.

Are you a potato lover or an apple one?

Are you a potatoes lover or apples one?

Studies say that if you are living alone you will spend and waste more in food.  Small portions are expensive compare to family pack but impossible to eat ‘all by yourself’.

In time of economy crisis and environmental catastrophes Waste & Resources Action Programme have lunch a new campaign calls “Love Food, Hate Waste”.

Love Food Hate Waste aims to raise awareness of the need to reduce food waste. The campaign shows that by doing some easy practical everyday things in the home we can all waste less food, which will ultimately benefit our purses and the environment too.

By doing easy practical everyday things in the home we can all waste less food, which ultimately benefits our purses and the environment too. If we all stopped wasting food that could have been eaten, it would have the same environmental impact as taking 1 in 4 cars off UK roads.

lovefoodhatewaste.com has lots of delicious recipes to use up leftovers, handy hints and tips for storing food to make it last longer, a portion calculator to help you cook the right amount, and information on what food date labels mean.

There is something for everyone, whether you are a keen cook, or simply want to reduce the amount of food which you throw away.

 

So organic so tasty

On Friday Ines and I went to “visit” the Whole Food store in High Kensington, the “paradise” of the organic, healthy eco friendly. In the huge store you can find anything you wish from the home baked brad to the lipstick. This amazing supermarket holds everything you need for your house and all its products are with a low environmental impact.  Whole Foods Market only sells products that meet its self-created quality standards for being “natural”, which the store defines as: minimally processed foods that are free of hydrogenated fats as well as artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives, and many others as listed on their online “Unacceptable Food Ingredients” list.

Whole Foods Market has also announced that it does not intend to sell meat or milk from cloned animals or their offspring, even though the FDA has ruled them safe to eat. The company also sells many USDA-certified organic foods and products that aim to be environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible. Stores do not carry foie gras or eggs from hens confined to battery cages due to animal cruelty concerns, as a result of successful advocacy by animal welfare groups. The Whole Foods Market website details the company’s criteria for selling food, dietary supplements, and personal care products.

But Whole Food is not only a supermarket on its top it has a an entire veggie restaurant, a pizzeria (as Italian I can say that I never found a such good pizza outside my country), a sushi bar and a Chinese restaurant. Everything is cooked at the time and with only fresh ingredient.

Whole Food has summaries in itself the old country market, where you could eat the product freshly, and the concept of the modern supermarket. If you shop there I swear you would shop anywhere alse!