Waste management to improve food safety and security for health advancement Academic Article uri icon


  • Economic growth inevitably influences the food chain. Growing demand with changes in lifestyle and health consciousness encourage use of packaged and pre-prepared foods. The needs of environmental protection from waste generated are largely overlooked, and a lack of knowledge about the impact on the environment and its health effects constitute food security/safety problems. Food production and waste generation directly affect resource (i.e., energy and water) consumption and often contaminate the environment. More pressure on food production has inculcated the use of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and chemical fertilizers which add to current global pollution. At least half of food grown is discarded before and after it reaches consumers. It is estimated that one third to half of landfill waste comes from the food sector. This landfill releases green house gases (GHG) as well as leachate which worsen soil and water quality and safety. Pharmaceutical and chemical contaminations from residential, industrial and agricultural sources make their way into nearby water and soil and can eventually affect our food systems. Phthalates, PFOA, BPA, commonly used in plastics and personal care products, are found in unacceptable concentrations in Taiwanese waters. They, too, contribute to food contamination and long-term health risk. Existing waste management strategies warrant more stringent norms for waste reduction at source. Awareness through education could reduce food waste and its consequences. This review encompasses impacts of food production systems on the environment, pollution which results from food waste, costs and economic advantages in food waste management, and health consequences of waste.

publication date

  • September 1, 2009