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SA may suffer from food wastage, not insecurity

| Going green

South Africa should review the legislation regulating the use-by and sell-by dates of food, the Tiger Brands Foundation said.

“Is South Africa food insecure or do we have an acute case of food wastage?” the foundation asked. According to a report compiled by the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA), a third of all food in the country was not eaten but wasted. 

Quantified, this equalled 10 million tons of food annually, a third of the 31 million tons of food produced in South Africa every year. Of the wasted foods, 44percent comprised fruits and vegetables, 26 percent grains, 15 percent meats, and 13 percent was made up of roots, tubers, and oilseeds. 

A large proportion of this food wastage occurred both at production and retail levels. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research estimated that a whopping R71.4 billion was lost to inedible food waste in 2013. The figure could be much higher today. Two years ago, South Africa was ranked 44th of 133 countries when it came to the affordability, availability, quality, and safety of food - based on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2017 Global Food Security Index report, the foundation said. “All of this food wastage occurs while an estimated 12 million South Africans go to bed hungry every night," foundation operations manager Karl Muller said. Supermarket chains have come under massive fire recently for discarding edible surplus food while a number of restaurant chains were loath to donate all uncooked or unused food supplies to others in need. 

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