A thing of beauty may mean food wastedBy Linda Bolido |Philippine Daily Inquirer
In a recent report for NBC News, Duncan Golestani said as much as half of the world’s food appeared to be wasted because consumers preferred produce that looked pretty.
Golestani’s report was based on a study conducted by the London-based Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME). The study found that of the about four billion metric tons of food the world produced annually, up to two billion metric tons were never eaten because of their looks.
IME, Golestani said, found that unpretty foods were already being thrown away even before they got to the consumers—right at the source, the farms. Produce that did not look perfect was being discarded all the way from farms to retail establishments because of fear that consumers would not buy them.
Golestani said IME was “calling for a change in farming practices and also a change in how we all think and value the food we buy.”
The organization pointed out that food consumption was becoming an important global issue because of the continuing growth in population. It cited projections of the United Nations that by the end of the current century, there would be an additional three billion people to feed.
The Inquirer reported that Manila councilor Numero Lim was proposing an ordinance prohibiting restaurants, cafeterias and other food establishments from serving soda drinks to children 14 years and below. Lim said studies in the United States showed that too much sugar was bad for children, and certain additives in soft drinks could retard mental and physical growth.
Lim said, in proposing the ordinance, he was targeting in particular school canteens and cafeterias, which should support their institutions’ goal to promote the education and development of students.
Several countries have already started to take steps to ensure students eat healthy in school. In Singapore, for instance, there are vending machines dispensing healthy beverages like fruit and vegetable juices.
The Philippine curriculum includes subjects that teach proper nutrition and the eating of balanced meals. School cafeterias and canteens should be promoting the same message so students really learn it well.
Senior citizen’s card
The reader who wanted to know if establishments could refuse copies of senior citizen’s cards got the answer herself from the Office for Senior Citizens’ Affairs (OSCA) in Biñan City, Laguna, where she lives. Eloisa Amador said she was told that even OSCA officials could not use copies without presenting the original card, purportedly because establishments feared the cards were being misused by people who simply wanted to avail of the discounts for senior citizens.
Amador asked, if she would have to present the original with the copy, didn’t this defeat the purpose of her having the card scanned—to keep it safe? A reasonable question, which she hoped national officials in charge of senior citizens’ affairs would answer. She said, since the card’s number was written on the receipt and purchases had to be recorded so users did not exceed their quota, it would be easy enough to track use by unauthorized people.
Amador also wanted to know why thermal paper was used to print receipts. I understand the problem. I have already mentioned this before. These receipts fade so quickly that you would not be able to use them as proofs of purchase. What many people do is have them copied.
Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail email@example.com.