BANGI, Jun 23 – The government should come up with a policy to ban the disposal of surplus food by operators, supermarkets and manufacturers in the country, said non-profit governmental organisation (NGO) Food Aid Foundation (Food Aid). Its project director Hayati Ismail said Malaysians wasted 15,000 tonnes of food including 3,000 tonnes of edible food daily.
“Malaysia should emulate France and Italy which banned food operators and supermarkets from throwing away or destroying food. Comprehensive and right food handling will rescue surplus food from going to the landfill and can be channelled to charitable/welfare homes for the needy. This will reduce their food bill,” she told reporters after the launching of ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’, here, last night.
‘Love Food, Hate Waste’ is a pilot project where Hotel Bangi-Putrajaya (HBP) and Bangi Gold Resort (BGR) are partnering with Food Aid to actively rescue surplus food in the Klang Valley and redistribute good quality cooked food to charitable/welfare organisations. It is an initiative to support the MySaveFood programme under the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) and the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry to reduce food waste.
Since 2013, Food Aid, a food bank where manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers and companies can donate their unused or unwanted food which will then be collected and allocated to charitable/welfare homes, volunteer welfare organisations, refugee communities, poor families, destitutes and soup kitchens.
“We collect perishable and non-perishable food and also re-engineer the food at our central kitchen in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur if necessary before distributing it to 112 charitable organisations and welfare homes in the Klang Valley and Rawang. About 6,600 people benefit every month. However, we still don’t have enough food to give to everyone. Therefore, I hope everybody can come forward and give us food to help the needy,” she said.
Meanwhile, HBP and BGR director Soh Chung-Ky said the surplus food rescued from the hotels would be kept safe for consumption up to one-year duration in the freezer, while the food handling involved the use of advance technology, the latest equipment and best practices.
Meanwhile, he said HBP and BGR had invested in state-of-the-art technology and kitchen equipment including the blast chiller and combi-ovens, perfected the methodology to maintain food freshness without sacrificing on taste and quality, and ensuring food safety.
“The surplus food is safe to eat. No preservatives are used. The food is kept under temperature control by the blast chiller and combi-ovens in our kitchen. The texture may not be up to the hotel standard but Food Aid will re-engineer the food in its central kitchen before distributing it to charitable/ welfare organisations,” said Soh.
Therefore, in the month of Ramadan, he said HBP and BGR decided to start the trial of rescuing surplus food from their warmer which was not served to the needy via Food Aid. He said in just 15 days, they managed to rescue 120kg of meat dishes and 31kg of desserts, which are equivalent to 600 meals. He said this is a good start in helping to reduce edible food waste. — Bernama