Richard Swannell

Richard Swannell

UK: A respected microbiologist and environmental engineer has called for a lowering of chilled food  storage temperatures.

Welcoming this week’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ report on the need for a sustainable global cold chain, Dr Richard Swannell, director of Sustainable Food Systems at the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) called for changes nearer home to reduce waste.

“Refrigeration can play a key role in reducing food waste in developed countries too, and we conducted our own research in this area,” he said.

Referring to a report carried out on WRAP’s behalf by Bristol-based test house Refrigeration Development & Testing (RD&T) and published last year, he said: “Our research (Impact of more effective use of the fridge and freezer) showed that more effective use of the fridge and freezer can play a key role in reducing food waste in UK homes.

“Even though access to refrigeration here in the UK is relatively easy, we could do more to use it in a way that maximises the life of our food.  For example, if we made small changes, such as lowering the temperature from 7°C to 4°C, it could offer potential savings of around 70,000t of household food waste annually, worth £160m.

“More than ever we are now hearing about the global food waste issue – which is not surprising given 840 million go hungry every day. Achieving global food security is a pressing issue and through our own international work we can see the movement from talking to doing and are taking the first steps towards positive change.”

WRAP was established in 2000 as an independent not-for-profit company. It receives funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the European Union.

Further reading:

IMechE A tank of cold coversmallIMechE: refrigeration must feed the world – 30th June, 2014
UK: The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has called for urgent action to roll out a sustainable cold chain in the developing world. Read more…