Throwing out unused food is akin to taking it off the table of those who need it, Pope Francis told his weekly audience in Vatican City.
The pope’s address Wednesday (June 5) focused on the ills of consumerism and decried the “culture of waste,” in particular the wasting of food. His address coincided with the United Nations-sponsored World Environment day.
“Consumerism has led us to become used to an excess and daily waste of food, to which, at times, we are no longer able to give a just value, which goes well beyond mere economic parameters,” the pope says. “We should all remember, however, that throwing food away is like stealing from the tables of the poor, the hungry! I encourage everyone to reflect on the problem of thrown away and wasted food to identify ways and means that, by seriously addressing this issue, are a vehicle of solidarity and sharing with the needy.”
Pope Francis’ comments sound similar to the thing your parents used to tell you when you wouldn’t eat — “Starving people would be happy to have that” — but he has statistics on his side. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that as much as a third of the world’s total food production is lost or wasted each year.