It’s the second week of Ramadan and I am worried about food wastage. I may not have any control over what people prepare in their homes for iftar, but through this column, I hope to remind people that we need to take note of the effects of food wastage.
Firstly, let me emphasise that food wastage is prohibited in Islam. It is sinful to throw away food that is still good. Instead, it should be given to the poor and the needy if possible or refrigerated for future use. However, there is no objection to throwing it away if the food is rotten.
Muslims should avoid extravagance. ‘Eat and drink but waste not by extravagance; certainly He (Allah) likes not those who waste by extravagance’ – Q’uran 7:31.
To make sure there is no food wastage in my own home, we follow a few tips which anyone can use. Always plan meals ahead. When food is prepared in excess quantities, it tends to be thrown away.
The first step, therefore, is to reduce the amount of food prepared. Here I mean, prepare only the food that is needed. This is a very simple way to reduce food wastage.
Another simple tip is to enjoy meals in moderation. And leftovers can be managed if consumed the next day. Or, we can be more creative with leftovers and transform these into suhoor.
In Oman, 470,322 tonnes of food go waste every year, while the wastage per person is estimated to be 95kg.
These figures are part of the Food Waste Index Report 2021 compiled by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partner organisation WRAP – a global NGO based in the UK. The report looked at food wastage that occurs in retail outlets, restaurants and homes.
For many of us, food wastage has become a habit. This puts extra strain on our natural resources and damages our environment. When we throw away food, we waste labour, effort, investment and precious resources.
I believe reducing food wastage is essential in a world where millions of people go hungry every day. It’s up to us to change our habits. Wasting food can’t be a way of life.
Till we meet next, think twice before you take that second helping. Will it go to waste?
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