Leave it to John Oliver to get Americans talking about food waste and more importantly about all the bad habits and decisions that have led us to the grave situation that we are in today.
In its characteristic cutting edge way, John Oliver has laid out the most important aspects regarding the common causes of food waste, its dire consequences on the environment, on the large scale economy and also on a personal level, and most importantly the best course of action that needs to be taken in order to make a change.
He talked about the immense proportions that food waste has reached nowadays, pointing out that “Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year”, which is a huge amount any way you put it. In order to give a more graphic representation of the entire situation, John Oliver explained that the today’s level of food waste essentially amounts to 730 football stadiums worth of wasted food.
Furthermore, the economic losses that most American households gather essentially amount to about a quarter of all the food that they buy, which they pay quite a lot of money for. Again, in order to put a graphic take on the matter, it was explained that Americans throw away as much food as if they would drop one of the four supermarket bags that they have exited the store with and simply keep on walking without even bothering to pick anything up.
He also mentioned that a massive amount of perfectly edible food gets tossed every single day by supermarkets simply because it does not meet the optimal quality characteristics. Thus, food that is still good to eat will be thrown away because it isn’t esthetic enough to be placed on the shelves or because its expiration date is coming up, all while Americans are literally starving.
John Oliver also discussed how most business owners refuse to donate this food, because they fear that they might get sued if any of the recipients becomes ill because of the food. What they all fear is that since the food is borderline officially edible, due to the expiration date present on the pack, they might be slammed with a major lawsuit in the event that anybody gets food poisoning or any other reaction.
As John Oliver points out, that is only a myth that has been created along the time, that he though to be true himself until a week back. There is no actual law that would condemn the donor for the effects that the recipients are experiencing, as long as the donation is made in good faith.
Therefore, reminding businesses that it is perfectly safe for them to donate the food that they are forced to throw away is one of the major changes that would make a difference in the fight against food waste.
John Oliver also reminded people that those fruit and vegetables that do not look perfect anymore are perfectly good for eating and therefore should not be thrown away. Also, he advised viewers to “take expiration dates with a pinch of salt”, as they are only meant to ensure that the food that gets sold in a supermarket is representative to certain criteria of quality, and not for how long a product is edible for.
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver has tackled the most ardent topics along its run, and has won Americans over with the straight forward manner in which it addresses them every single time. So keep up the good work, John Oliver!
Image Source: mnn.com/