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Wastage, processed foods a concern

Are you really going to eat that?

This was the question asked by prof. Chris Viljoen of the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) Testing Facility of the Department of Haematology and Cell Biology at the Univeristy of the Free State (UFS) at a talk for the University of the Third Age (U3A). This was presented at the Sewe Damme Retirement Centre on 25 April.

As guest speaker, he shared his knowledge on the food people typically consume on a daily basis.

According to Viljoen, food production must increase by 50% to feed the world population by 2030.

“There is a huge discrepancy between the massive food wastage during production and people starving all over the world,” said Viljoen.

He said the biggest wastage took place in the process from production to retail, and not so much food wastage by the consumer.

More than 1 million tons of food are wasted annually.

“This wasted food could have fed 2 billion people.”

According to Viljoen, 75% of world food sales consist of highly processed food. Because it is so convenient to the consumer, the world is continually moving towards more processed food.

He explained how the ingredients of a single food item like a hamburger could come from several destinations all over the world, raising the question of safety standards. Also, the list of ingredients used to make such foods are staggering.

He said the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – in which machines and artificial intelligence are increasingly used in production – would increase the production of highly processed food.

His advises people to read the packaging and be informed of what they are consuming.

According to Viljoen, research in the field of food safety is of paramount importance for the future health of all.

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