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Reducing High Rates of Wasted Food

From VOA Learning English, welcome to Agriculture in Special English. How much of the world's food is going to waste? The Institution of Mechanical Engineers released a report that says as much as half of all food is wasted. The Britain-based group says that must change if the world is to feed its growing population.

Every year the world produces about 4 billion tons of food. The report says that between one third and one half of it goes to waste. It says that in Southeast Asian countries, between 37 and 80 percent of all rice production is lost. Colin Brown helped write the report for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He says a lot of rice is lost because of the way it is harvested, stored and transported. The developed world also wastes food.

The report says more efficient farming methods ensure that more food reaches markets. Still, Colin Brown says millions of tons of food are thrown away because it is past its sell-by date or for other reasons. He says a lot of food is thrown away because it no longer looks good, and not because it is no longer good to eat.

A spokesman for a group that represents supermarkets in Britain says the big food stores are not to blame. He says they are only following European Union marketing rules. The stores have been pushing for an easing of those rules. He says that in 2009, stores succeeded in getting a number of rules relaxed. Many aid organizations welcomed the report. They say it shows how much food is being wasted at a time when millions of people do not get enough to eat. The group Save the Children says there is enough food in the world to feed every child. Yet, 2.3 million children die every year as a result of hunger.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Laurel Bowman.(Adapted from a radio program broadcast 05Feb2013)