x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

More than 20,000 children die of hunger daily as tonnes of food are dumped

Science companies are commemorating World Environment Day by addressing the challenges with innovative science-based products to minimise food wastage.

ABU DHABI // At least 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and the Middle East is a large contributor.

According to a YouGov survey, 78 per cent of respondents in the UAE say they throw food away weekly.

Science companies, such as DuPont, are commemorating World Environment Day by addressing the challenges with innovative science-based products to minimise food wastage.

"We believe in collaboration. No one company can do it alone," said Amin Khayyal, DuPont's general manager in the UAE.

"We urge leaders from across government, business and non-profit organisations to help solve the greatest challenge of tomorrow - feeding nine billion people. We are closely looking at increased agricultural output, healthy and more nutritious food and food security."

Because the Middle East is prone to food spoilage due to its extreme climatic conditions, extending the shelf life of food is crucial.

Tougher and lighter packages that reduce leaks which spoil food are important in the GCC, where almost 90 per cent of the food is imported.

Developing products with enzymes can also keep bread, cakes and milk fresh longer.

"DuPont is servicing with one of the leading airlines to apply the company's science and know-how to help improve food transport technologies, which will better protect perishable shipments," said Mr Khayyal.

"It is our responsibility to make concerted efforts to raise awareness and to help minimise food waste, especially as we know one in every seven people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of five die daily from hunger."

cmalek@thenational.ae