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Biting off more than we can chew

Updated: 2016-06-16 07:50
By Xu Wei (China Daily)

Interest rises in food banks

China should establish a food bank system to salvage food that would otherwise go to waste, according to the leader of an international think tank.

Speaking on the sidelines of the G20 Agricultural Ministers Conference on June 3, Fan Shenggen, director-general of the International Food Policy Research Institute, said that a food bank system would allow households and retailers to share food products that are close to end of their shelf lives, and also enable food to be salvaged from restaurants.

Some researchers estimate that China's catering sector wastes more than 25 million metric tons of food every year.

According to Fan, a food bank system would significantly reduce wastage and help lift the burden from people on relatively low incomes: "Food banks would help to balance the diets of the less-well-off because they can also offer tips on healthy eating," he said.

The world's first food bank was established in the US in the 1960s, and since then many thousands have been set up across the world.

"Quite different from developed countries, food wastage in China takes place during grain production and at dinner tables," Fan said. "What is wasted at the dinner tables is generally food with a high nutritional value."

He added that households, retailers and supermarkets could use the internet to alert food banks to surpluses in a convenient way.




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