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SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

Community of Practice on Food Loss Reduction

New Online Consultation on the linkages between Food Loss and Waste (FLW) and Nutrition

This consultation on linkages between FLW and Nutrition is aimed at understanding links between FLW and nutrition. A study has investigated losses of vitamins A and C associated with fruit and vegetables losses along the food supply chains in seven regions of the world during 2009. Results have shown that across the seven regions, agricultural production, post-harvest and consumption accounted for the majority of vitamins FLW along the food supply chains, while food processing accounted for the lowest FLW. Vitamins A and C losses and waste in fruits and vegetables due to FLW across the entire food supply chains are alarmingly high in the world (source: http://www.fao.org/food-loss-reduction/news/detail/en/c/345300/ ).

 

On 14 September, FAO held a seminar on “Evaluation of Micronutrient Losses from Postharvest Food Losses (PHL) in Kenya, Cameroon and India – Implications on Micronutrient Deficiencies in Children Under Five Years of Age” to present the results from a project aimed to explore the link between PHL and micronutrient losses, and provide an opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences on the contribution of FLW reduction to micronutrient adequacy, and on ways to advocate and support governments and food supply chains actors to reduce PHL, thereby leading to increased availability of nutritious foods for human consumption. The presentation can be accessed here.

 

As a follow-up of the discussion raised during the seminar, launching an online consultation in the Forum of the Community of Practice (CoP) on food loss reduction will be helpful for the international development community to raise awareness, share examples and experiences, and explore further directions on these two major topics.

 

Among program planners and field implementers working on one of the two topics (FLW and nutrition), the awareness of the other is not high. As a result, FLW reduction is generally not considered in nutrition programs as a means to relieve malnutrition, neither have the impacts of FLW reduction on people’s nutritional status been thoroughly evaluated. Thus, very little evidence has been generated on the interaction between the two important topics. With this consultation we also would like to compile and gather relevant material already available and known by experts and practitioners.

CoP members will have access to available documents related to this field, as background material for the discussion. Current efforts are limited to calculating the loss of calories and nutrients due to quantitative food loss, which does not quite reflect real-world situations because the role the lost foods play in people’s diets is largely unknown. Some studies made an attempt in evaluating FLW figures into calories. These analyses do not take into account the nutritional aspects like content of micronutrients such as vitamin A, iron, zinc and Vitamin C, etc. These micronutrients have a proven role in preventing micronutrient deficiencies and related diseases, especially for vulnerable populations (children and women) in developing countries.

The consultation will consist of 3 sessions of online discussion in the CoP Forum where some questions will be asked in order to find more information or share helpful experiences to better understand how and if FLW reduction affect people’s nutritional status, and how reduced FLW and related micronutrient losses lead to improve food security and human nutrition.

PHOTO©Chris Steele-Perkins/Magnum Ph