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Share food to avoid wastage during festive season, UN agency advises

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It’s the festive season, and with it comes a lot of food… and wastage.

The UN food agency has made a list of tips to avoid food waste during the festive season.

FAO found the holidays have become synonymous with overeating and food waste in some parts of the world.

“In general, one third of all the food produced in the world is either lost or wasted. That amounts to 1.3 billion tons per year,” it said in a statement.

The statement further stated that besides food waste, there are also other resources like seeds, water, feed, money and labour that go into making the food that are also lost.

“While we celebrate the people and ideas that we value, let us make saving food one of them,” FAO said.

 

Here are six tips on how to avoid and reduce holiday food waste:

1. Be realistic and plan in advance and avoid preparing food for 50 people if only five will turn up for dinner.

2. Freeze leftovers or give them to guests. If you do cook too much food, encourage guests to take some home with them. Whatever is left, put it promptly in the freezer for another day. In general, food should not be left at room temperature for longer than two hours.

3. Turn the leftover food into the next day’s lunch or dinner. There are many creative recipes on the internet for using leftovers, and people should store any leftovers in the refrigerator and use it as soon as possible.

4. Finish leftovers before making something new.

“The instinct to make something different for every meal is quite common, but before cooking a new dish, see if you have anything already prepared and still safe to eat to finish first.

Alternatively, turn your old leftovers into a new dish.

“Just remember to avoid reheating food and then putting it back into the refrigerator later,” says FAO.

5. Allow guests to serve themselves so they can choose as much or as little as they want.

The UN advises that as nice as it is to serve people, a host might not accurately gauge how much or how little someone wants to eat, and usually errs on the side of too much.

“Allowing guests to serve themselves means that they can choose the amount that they would like to eat, and as a food waste tip for guests: when a meal is self-serve, don’t take more than you can eat,” the statement read.

6. Donate what you don’t use including extra cans of food, dried goods or other non-perishable food that can be donated. These according to FAO can be donated to local charities or foster homes.

“This holiday, remember that having enough food is a privilege, don’t waste it,” said FAO.

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