#ZeroFoodWaste: Dubai wages war against food waste on World Food Day

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Dubai Municipality creates #ZeroFoodWaste campaign for food establishments and residents.

Dubai is beginning a new war against food waste on Monday to mark World Food Day 2017.

On behalf of the UAE Food Bank, Dubai Municipality, which runs the first branch of the Food Bank, has created the hastag #ZeroFoodWaste, a campaign to commit to zero tolerance for food waste by both food establishments and residents.

Khalid Mohammad Sherif Al Awadhi, assistant director general for Environment, Health and Safety Control Sector, said everyone has a role to play in achieving this ambitious goal on World Food Day, and beyond.

“Whether you are an individual or a food business, you should make a conscious effort to reduce food waste in Dubai and UAE,” he told Gulf News. From better stock management, food transport and storage solutions to reducing portion sizes and communicating effectively to identify expectations of consumers, food businesses can do various things to control food waste, he noted. At home, he said, all family members should make a conscious effort to prevent food wastage.

Bashir Hassan Yousif, food safety expert, Dubai Municipality, said efforts to reduce food wastage in households should start from the time of shopping for groceries and produce.

“Smart shopping can reduce a lot of food wastage. Some people buy food in bulk and most of it rots before it is eaten. Plan your grocery shopping as per the needs of the family and cook only what is required,” he advised.

New food culture

The campaign, Yousif said, is the starting point to make #ZeroFoodWaste a new food culture in Dubai — a culture of being aware about the planet, environment, energy and hunger, all of which are linked to food wastage.

“Authorities alone cannot implement such a goal. Everyone should take up this responsibility.”

He noted that even bad agricultural practices at farms and wrong practices at factories cause a lot of food wastage before it enters the food supply chain.

“But now we are concentrating on the food that has entered the chain.”

Sometimes, he said, it is the way people perceive food safety and shelf life [that also impacts the food chain]..

“People throw away food, which is still safe for consumption, if it reaches expiry date. If you don’t have enough control on the food chain, especially in refrigeration, food is wasted.”

Although this is something related to sustainability, Yousif said the municipality wants to minimise food waste in the first place.

“Waste not a morsel should be our motto. It will only be possible if you realise the value of the labour, water, energy, land and other inputs that have gone behind preparing each morsel.”

With a high prevalence of food wastage in the country, the government aims to recycle 75 per cent of food waste by 2021.

“We are planning to organise this campaign every year and conduct more activities under this theme,” said Al Awadhi.

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