Britain is throwing away nearly half of all the food it produces, costing the nation an estimated $40 billion a year, it was reported Sunday.
About 20 million tons of food is thrown out each year, with most of it -- 16 million tons -- wasted in British homes, restaurants and hotels, The Independent reported.
Lord Haskins of Skidby, a former government adviser on rural affairs and chairman of Northern Foods, said eliminating some of the waste would help preserve the environment and help alleviate a global food shortage.
Food waste is a "shameful feature of most modern consumer societies," he said.
"Unfortunately, we live in a world where many people do not have access to food in general, and good-quality food specifically, while at the same time millions of tons of perfectly fine food are being disposed of," said Tony Lowe, chief executive of FareShare, the British national food charity.
"In the UK alone, the extent of food poverty is staggering, as millions of people with low or no income find it harder to access affordable, nutritious food."
Copyright 2008 by United Press International
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