Ramadan food wastage leaves many appalled
Every Ramadan brings an unfortunate epidemic of food wastage causing scholars and medical experts to advise against overeating and wastage
August 14, 2012 4:13 by M. Aldalou
The subject of food preparation, consumption and wastage during Ramadan has left Kipp quite appalled. Not to appear holier-than-thou, because most of us are guilty of throwing away that plate of leftovers that we couldn’t bare to re-heat, but the fact remains that as every Ramadan comes and goes, tonnes and tonnes of food is thrown in the trash.
In 2010, the Dubai Municipality released a set of shocking numbers stipulating, with the aim to discourage residents from food wastage, that approximately 500 tonnes of food were thrown away every day in Abu Dhabi, and 1,850 tonnes were wasted daily in Dubai during the month of Ramadan.
Could you imagine in all sense of practically how many starving people around the world could have benefited from 2,350 tonnes (yes we did the math) of what was clearly unwanted food? The Abu Dhabi government has wised up and launched a ‘Think Before You Waste’ campaign to get under the skin of the self-indulgent folk. The sad fact, however, is that shy of charging into people’s houses to check the amount of food they are cooking, spreading awareness is the only form of leverage left, except for perhaps adopting restaurant policies to fine those who leave any food on their platter.
For the problem to be reduced, a new cultural perception must breed and spread itself within the community in hopes that we, at the very least, can cut that portion of wasted food in half by next Ramadan. Kipp insists that the bad habit of shopping while one is hungry, preparing and cooking beyond what you could possibly eat and not storing leftovers must be tackled and challenged, from one conscience to another. The unveiling of this waste epidemic has prompted many scholars to speak out, in sheer disappointment, and express to the community that not only is this behaviour objectively wrong but it also negates the instilled purposes of Ramadan.
During the first week of Ramadan, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE and Saudi Arabia had all released reports of hundreds of people admitted to the Emergency Unit for overeating in a rush. Scholars have begun shelling out words of caution, especially to residents with Diabetes and other medical conditions, to go easy on food portions on EID; particularly a period of the year with many back-to-back family feasts.
Dr M Hamed Farooqi, director of Dubai Diabetes Centre under Dubai Health Authority, said: “Consumption of excess sweets and sugary syrups and drinks cause a significant elevation in blood sugar levels. A healthy body can handle that with some effort, but for those with prevailing diseases the sudden rise in the blood sugar level can result in serious health complications.”
The solution boils down to every single individual who has ever thrown away plates of perfectly good left-overs, shopped on an empty stomach or prepared ridiculous amounts of food simply to create an image of prosperity to the guests around the dining table.