Rethink Food Waste: A Proposition for the Streamlining of the Food Industry

The world is a beautiful place. It has so many nice things to offer. But, for the longest time, humans have been abusing the Earth’s gifts, thinking that they were infinite in quantity. Now, in the 21st century, we stand at a crossroads, where the Earth is at the end of it’s rope, and we are to blame. At this point, we are forced to decide between whether to use the remaining resources and be left with nothing, or look for alternatives at a high initial cost. Many innovations have been made in fields like energy and building materials, from wind and solar energy to longer lasting, more efficient alloys and preservation techniques. But not nearly as much success has been achieved in the food industry.

With this article, I intend to share my ideas on how to manage and streamline this sector of our economy.

Food Waste

Let us address the elephant in the room first- there is too much food waste! According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture organization, every year, roughly 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted in the world! That is a third of all food produced on the planet!

So how can this problem be solved?

For developing countries, we must pay attention to improving our crops by utilizing HYV seeds and hybrids that are resistant to weather and disease. We must improve the hygiene of storage silos so that grain isn’t eaten away by rats. Using bio-pesticides like Beauveria Bassiana fungus, which do the job of poisons and pesticides, but don’t harm the plants or the soil are also a solution. Reforms to the Public Distribution System must be implemented, and stricter vigilance in the form of 24/7 live grain and retailer tracking software will prove beneficial in minimizing corruption. These may be engineered using pressure sensors that are directly linked to a cloud system. PDS users may be requested to install apps which will ask for input from users as to how much grain they get. This data will be cross referenced directly with the government database, and will be highly exploit-proof.

‘UN chart of per capita food losses by continent’

As for the developed countries, the primary objective should be mental conditioning, as infrastructure is fairly developed there. Awareness campaigns and demonstrations must be held, and given attention by major media outlets. International bodies should lay bare the facts in front of the people, to add weight to the cause. Retailers, on the other hand must implement something along the lines of what I discussed in the earlier paragraph. In restaurants, the amount of raw materials coming in and going out should be tracked, and it should be made so that calorie counts for each item on the menu must be displayed, and a rough aggregate of how “full” one will feel after consuming each item, so as to prevent over-ordering. Taking leftovers home should be encouraged and excess raw materials in the kitchen, (if any), should be donated to soup kitchens.

Animal Slaughter

The next biggest thing on my mind is the slaughter of animals. One can argue that the slaughtering of animals by humans is inevitable, as it is a direct consequence of us being at the top of the food chain. But I still believe that the amount of animals we kill or the amount that we use like machines is far, far too great than it should be.

But even then- veganism is only a band-aid patch on the bigger issue.

According to HowStuffWorks, plants do feel pain, despite lacking a nervous system, and do everything in their power to protect themselves and alert their fellow plants of what’s to come by using gases, phytohormones and molecular responses. Ever wondered why freshly cut grass smells the way it does? It is a chemical distress call, used by the grass to plead to nearby bugs to help them out.

My intent is not to bash vegans, of course, and if what I said piques your interest, please feel free to go to the source and read up for yourself. In fact, according to renowned Professor Fink of the Santa Monica college, if you wanted to eat something without killing or harming something else, all you could consume is salt and water!

Here’s the thing: animals are bred like machines to meet with the global meat demand. Cows are also subjected to this process to ensure a continuous milk supply. Chickens are forced to lay eggs repeatedly, and only females are kept. Males are thought to be useless and killed.

But fear not, science is here to save the day! We have all read about Tissue Culture in class 10. As it turns out, the same can be done with animal cells, to create animal meat in a culture medium, so as to eliminate the requirement for slaughter entirely! Meat grown like this is known as cultured meat, and was first theorized by Winston Churchill!

Professor Mark Post holds the world’s first lab-grown beef burger during a launch event in west London August 5, 2013. 

Moreover, if the government were to start providing concessions to organic farmers, I am positive the cost of organic food will come down to a much more reasonable rate. Organic farming makes sure that animals are not treated like factory products, and the supply-demand curve can be streamlined simply by incentivizing more farmers to go organic!

These are my thoughts on this issue. I hope you found this article informative and enjoyable!

 

This article was contributed by Edudigm’s student Kausar De.

 

Sources:

[1] http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biopesticide

[3] https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/botany/plants-feel-pain.htm

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WF0s-hrQsoA (SKIP TO 23:37)

[5] https://www.aspca.org/animal-cruelty/farm-animal-welfare/animals-factory-farms

[6] https://www.bestfoodfacts.org/is-synthetic-meat-in-our-future/

[7] http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/09-077.htm

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