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Agency tells Swedes to 'stop throwing food away'

Published: 25 Mar 2011 12:45 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Mar 2011 12:45 GMT+01:00

Swedes cause “completely unnecessary” damage to the environment by throwing away more than one kilo of fully edible foodstuffs per person each week, the National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket) has revealed.

By dumping 56 kilos of food each year, consumers also add an estimated 5,300 kronor ($840) to their annual grocery bill, the administration said.

“It’s an indefensible waste that so many edible groceries are thrown away, and it leads to completely unnecessary environmental and climate effects,” said Inger Andersson, director general of the administration.

Food production is one of the main human causes of environmental damage, with foodstuffs discarded by households, restaurants and large-scale kitchens leading to the emission of 1.8 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, the administration said. This equates to 2 percent of Swedish consumer society’s overall climate footprint, it added.

In an attempt to tackle the problem, the Food Administration has begun preparing an advice kit for consumers seeking to cut back on the amount of food they throw away.

Inger Andersson said consumers should plan their grocery shopping better, store perishable goods properly, and make sure to use leftovers.

“If food has been stored properly, it won’t be dangerous just because it has passed its best-before date, although the quality may have deteriorated,” said Andersson.

“People have to dare to smell and taste the food and trust their own senses.”

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:28 March 25, 2011 by HYBRED
I had a dozen thoughts instantly about this story, and to write them all here, at this time, would turn out to be a long lecture. To keep it short, this story is a crock of digested "food stuffs"!
14:33 March 25, 2011 by Rishonim
Agree food shouldn't be wasted but it should be noted that besides potatoes, grains and tomatoes which never get ripe, everything else we buy in Sweden is almost past its expiration date. Try getting a proper avocado or a descent orange.
14:45 March 25, 2011 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
I'm a complete skinflint. If it hasn't gone furry and evolved the ability to talk, then it's edible.
14:58 March 25, 2011 by calebian22
Saving the world, one farting cow at a time....
16:53 March 25, 2011 by karex
Gotha,

I have to agree with you... almost :D

One custom I found here in Sweden which seems quite curious to me is the "black-and-white" attitude towards "best before" dates. Most people I know react in this way: if the best before date is still valid, it is perfectly fine; if it has expired it somehow turns to poison and can kill you?

Best before usually means that it will taste much better if consumed within that time period. But it won't kill you. If anything does kill you, the best before date normally has nothing to do with it. Meat falling within this time period can still contain butolism and other life-threatening agents which have nothing to do with expiration dates.
18:33 March 25, 2011 by JulieLou40
"butolism"? Is that a bacteria originating from the bum, then? :-D

(It's ok, I'm kidding. I know you meant botulism...)
18:38 March 25, 2011 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
Karex, I know what you mean. It's weird. Them there bacteria are cunning buggers. At the stroke of midnight they turn your food bad.
00:54 March 26, 2011 by Daveo
And how much of our tax money has gone to this brainfart?
10:35 March 26, 2011 by johnny1939
With the price of food these days I find it difficult to understand that so much seem to be wasted. If the veggies are black throw them out and if the meat is green out it goes anything in between goes down my gullet. Heavens only knows what kind of colour the stuff is in restaurants?
16:42 March 26, 2011 by BarCode
Keep a pig in your backyard.
23:58 March 26, 2011 by Swedesmith
How does one know if surströmming has gone bad?
01:23 March 28, 2011 by soultraveler3
Have to agree with Rish above. Most of the fruit and veg you buy here is near rotten anyways. Swedes might not be so paranoid about food if it was a little fresher when bought.
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