Fines for Food Waste and the “Clean Plate Campaign”
Yuan Longping, an agricultural scientist at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the “father of hybrid rice“, has publicly endorsed the implementation of fines for wasted food. Yuan, famous for developing the first varieties of high-yield hybrid rice in the 70s, shared last year’s Confucius Peace Prize with former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, after coming in just shy of Vladimir Putin in 2011. The South China Morning Post reports:
“I suggest the government prohibit wasting food by treating it as a kind of crime and shameful behaviour,” he said. “Many banquets I have attended offered dozens of different dishes to the guests, who only briefly tasted each dish and then threw them away. The authorities should fine them.”
Yuan said squandering food was unforgivable, especially because China had to pull out all stops to provide enough food for its 1.3 billion people due to its limited arable land. “It was difficult to improve rice’s output, but after we did we found the food was being wasted,” he said.
China News Service has reported that the country’s leftover food could feed more than 200 million people a year. The State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development said about 128 million people were living below the official poverty line in 2011.
Meanwhile, 28 million undergraduates studying at mainland universities throw away enough food every year to feed 10 million people, according to research by China Agricultural University.
The abundance of wasted food in China – a country where some are struggling even to meet their nutritional needs – has prompted an online campaign against food squandering, as pointed out by a recent tweet from Xinhua. Below are two images circulating the Weibosphere as part of the “clean plate campaign”:
Today, leave no leftovers
It starts with me
I have a “clean plate”
@LongjiangGourmet “Clean Plate” movement starts with me
@龙江美食 “光盘” 行动， 从我做起
Every year, China’s restaurant industry throws out enough food to feed 200 million people!
China has tens of millions of people in need of food and clothing!
Recovering just 5% of wasted food could feed four million people!
Guarding our savory civilization starts with me. I won’t waste food anymore!