MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, October 4th 2023 - 06:46 UTC



Throwing away food is like stealing from the poor, Francis tells followers

Thursday, June 6th 2013 - 06:33 UTC
Full article 9 comments
The Argentine born Pope blasted the ‘culture of waste’ The Argentine born Pope blasted the ‘culture of waste’

Francis has denounced what he called a “culture of waste” in an increasingly consumerist world and said throwing away good food was like stealing from poor people.

“Our grandparents used to make a point of not throwing away leftover food. Consumerism has made us accustomed to wasting food daily and we are unable to see its real value,” Francis said at his weekly audience in St Peter's Square.

“Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry”.

Since taking office in March, Pope Francis has said he wants the 1.2-billion-strong Roman Catholic Church to defend the poor and to practise greater austerity itself.

He has also made several calls for global financial reform.

Around 1.3 billion tons of food, or one third of what is produced for human consumption, gets lost or wasted every year, according to the United Nations' food agency.

In the industrialised world the majority of waste is by consumers, often because they buy too much and have to throw away what they do not manage to eat.

A U.N.-backed study released on Wednesday said simple measures such as better storage and reducing over-sized portions would sharply reduce the vast amount of food going to waste.

In US restaurants, diners wasted 9% of the meals they bought, partly because of a trend to increase the size of everything from cheeseburgers to soft drinks, said the report by the World Resources Institute and the UN Environment Programme.

Francis said the “culture of waste” was especially deplorable given the prevalence of hunger in the world. The United Nations says hunger affects some 870 million people, while 2 billion suffer from at least one nutritional deficiency.

The Argentine-born pontiff warned that too much focus on money and materialism meant financial market dips were viewed as tragedies while human suffering had become normal and ignored.

“In this way people are discarded as if they were garbage” he said.

The “culture of waste” as Francis used it seems to have a more flexible meaning, suggesting a loss of moral standards in civilization, including an international banking system that makes waste of the world’s poor:

“If in so many parts of the world there are children who have nothing to eat: that's not news. It seems normal. It must not be this way! And yet these things come to be normal … On the other hand, a drop of ten points on the stock exchange constitutes a tragedy. If someone dies that isn't news but a ten-point drop in the markets is a tragedy! Thus people are discarded as if they were garbage.”

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • GeoffWard2

    Dear Pope,

    *most* food that is thrown away has never been anywhere near a plate.
    It spoils ...
    in transit in lorry-jams on the road,
    in the ships waiting for onloading/offloading and
    in the interminable document compilations necessary for transit.

    The best way the Pope can help matters is to press for
    i better roads and rail service to ports,
    ii better ports, and
    iii the dredging of port access.

    He does know what I refer to, and may his God guide is prayers on this matter.

    It does seem that God is guiding Chinese money towards these ends. This will certainly reduce the numbers of starving poor in China ... which, after all, has the greatest numbers needing saving.

    This should please the Pope as it also trickles down profit from infrastructure and export into the mouths of the poor of South America, ... or at least it would if the corruption in all parts of the South American food distribution systems allowed it.

    Jun 06th, 2013 - 09:01 am 0
  • ChrisR

    I see the popesicle has jumped on the current band-wagon without reading the destination plate.

    But he is a firm believer in the poor: it's where most of the RC wealth came from after all.

    Jun 06th, 2013 - 03:50 pm 0
  • Ayayay

    The poop is a complainer who isn't an example of food efficiency. India is the least food-efficient country, they let enormous piles of grain spoil because politics, vegetables are not cared for with climate-balancing. If the Poop created compost programs, earth-friendly siloage, community gardens on church land that'd be great.

    Jun 06th, 2013 - 04:44 pm 0
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!