Gourmet Meal at UN Environment Programme Headquarters Highlights Global Campaign to Cut Food Waste

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Chef Ray Cournede shows Kenyan-grown broccoli rejected by supermarkets (UNEP PHOTO)

A major campaign to cut massive levels of global food loss and waste, was highlighted in Nairobi on Tuesday as hundreds of ministers and high-level officials dined on perfectly good food grown by Kenyan farmers, but rejected by UK supermarkets due to cosmetic imperfections.

The zero-waste reception, taking place at the headquarters of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), during a meeting of the first UNEP Governing Council under universal membership, was in support of Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint – an initiative launched in January by UNEP, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and partners such as Feeding the 5,000 and Messe Dusseldorf.

The campaign aims to promote actions by consumers and food retailers to dramatically cut the 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost or wasted each year – which aside from the cost implications and environmental impacts increases pressure on the already straining global food system – and help shape a sustainable future.

Tristram Stuart, food waste author and founder of Feeding the 5000, a key partner organization that has organized such dinners for years, visited producers across Kenya to source around 1,600 kilogrammes of unwanted fruit and vegetables for the meal and for donation to local charities.

The food had been grown for the export market only to be rejected – largely due to stringent standards over appearance or orders being changed after vegetables had been harvested.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner says "No economic, environmental or ethical argument can be made to justify the extent of food waste and loss currently happening in the world, and at UNEP we practice what we preach". He said "With this dinner we are demonstrating to retailers, consumers and policymakers who can push for change that the astonishing amount of food we throw away is not just edible and nutritious, but also delicious."

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’47″

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