Australia: Cold food chain waste costing $3.8 billion

A report on the causes of food waste in Australia has attributed $3.8 billion in wasted food to “breaks and deficiencies in the cold food chain.” Consultants from the Expert Group said that this is the first-time dollar losses linked to cold chain practices in Austria have been calculated.

The report titled Study of Waste in the Cold Food Chain and Opportunities for Improvement was sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, and by the trade group Refrigerants Australia.

The report’s main finding is that “conservative estimates put the cost of food waste within the cold food chain at $3.8 billion at farm gate values.”

In specific product categories, Australia loses 25 per cent (1,930,000 tons) of its annual fruit and vegetable production, 3.5 per cent of meat (155,000 tons) and seafood (8,500 tons) production, as well as 1 per cent (90,000 tons) of annual dairy production value, the report said.

The report also estimated the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from food waste attributed to sub-par refrigeration technology, practices and processes at 7.0Mt (million tons) of CO2e in 2018, which is about 1.3 per cent of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

This is equivalent to more than 35 per cent of the total emissions (direct and indirect) from operating the cold food chain in the same year (18.9Mt CO2e), the report said.


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