Back to Top

Food Waste and Food Losses: Addressing the Global Challenges

IUFoST Symposium

At the Dubai International Food Safety Conference  - 27 October 2015


Food losses and waste amount worldwide to approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food per year or almost one third of our food supply. This provides a tremendous loss and waste not only of our food supply, nutrients and nourishment, but also of energy, water and other resources.

The 17 global challenges as addressed by the UN as well as the Zero Waste initiative of the FAO, are indications of the urgent need for immediate action. As demonstrated with Future Earth, food safety, security and sustainability activities, IUFoST is actively tackling the challenges associated with food losses and waste, and providing concepts for processing and conversion of food waste materials and information regarding alternative food raw materials.

Food losses occur mainly in developing nations at and immediately after the farm level, whereas developed nations are wasting their food supply mainly at the post-processing level, with a major part occurring at the household/home preparation and consumption level.  Therefore, different strategies for sustainable solutions are required.  Besides technological support and processing solutions, intensive consumer information and training activities are required. Some countries have already set targets to significantly reduce food loss and food waste and an integrated trans-disciplinary approach will be required to develop solutions to meet the ambitious targets over the next decade.

IUFoST with over 300,000 food experts worldwide can and has to play a major role in taking on these challenges. This symposium, chaired by Dr Lara Hanna Wakim, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon, and Member, IUFoST Governing Council, features international experts who will provide their visions on how to address this key issue we are facing in global food sustainability.



 Chair, IUFoST Food Waste Symposium: Dr Lara Hanna Wakim,

IUFoST Governing Council and Dean, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences,

Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon



Dr Lara Hanna Wakim is Associate Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (FAFS) at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon (USEK) and Head of the Food Science Department at FAFS. She is the Vice-President of the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences (GCHERA), a member of the Governing Council of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFOST), and a Member of the Lebanese Association of Food Scientists and Technologists (LAFST). She represents FAFS at the National Committee of Agri-Food Industries at the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture (2008) and is a Member of the National Committee of LIBNOR for elaborating Lebanese norms and standards (2009). Dr Hanna-Wakim’s research interests are primarily focused on consumer perceptions and attitude toward food safety in Lebanon. She earned her Agricultural Engineering Diploma from USEK (2002), an MS in Food Science from INA PG (France, 2003), a PhD in Food Process Engineering from AgroParis Tech, France (2008) and a MA/PG Diploma in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education from the University of Chester, UK (2013).


Dr Jane Ambuko is a senior lecturer and head of Horticulture at the Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection of the University of Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a BSc in Agriculture and MSc in Horticulture from the University of Nairobi (Kenya) and a PhD in Agricultural Sciences (Pomology and Postharvest Major) from Tsukuba University (Japan). She is a horticulturist with specialisation in postharvest science and technology. In this regard, she has received additional training on postharvest from the Postharvest Education Foundation, USA and Postharvest Training Center, UC Davis. At the University of Nairobi, she is involved in teaching, research and outreach activities. Her research is focused on adapting, validation and promotion of postharvest technologies – especially those that are appropriate for smallholder farmers in developing countries. Some of the technologies she has been involved in validating and promoting include the Coolbot™ (a low-cold alternative to conventional cold rooms) developed by Store-It-Cold LLC, USA; zero energy brick cooler (developed in India), and modified atmosphere packing and edible coating (Edipeel™) developed by Apeel Sciences. Dr Ambuko has authored several papers in peer reviewed journals and presented research findings in various forums. She is a member of several professional associations including the International Society of Horticultural Science (ISHS), American Society of Horticultural Science (ASHS), Horticultural Association of Kenya (HAK), African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and African Women in Science and Engineering (AWSE). 

Dr.Ambuko is a project team member of the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) appointed by FAO’s Committee on Food Security (CFS) for the report on ‘Food Losses and Waste in the Context of Sustainable Food Systems’. She will present the key findings and recommendations of this HLPE Report (#8) during the Food Loss Symposium.

 Food losses and Waste in the Context of Sustainable Food Systems
Jane Ambuko1*, Vishweshwaraiah Prakash1, Toine Timmermans1, Walter Belik1 and Jikun Huang1 


1 Project Team of the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 
* Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection, University of Nairobi, PO Box 29053-00625, Nairobi, Kenya
Presenting author E-mail: or 



Although accurate estimates of losses and waste in the food systems are scanty, the best evidence to date (from FAO) indicates that approximately 1.3 billion tonnes per year (one-third) of the food produced for human consumption is either lost or wasted globally. Food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from the initial production stage down to the consumption level at the household. These losses or waste means that the resources used in producing the food are used in vain. Similarly greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the food production are emitted in vain. Food losses and waste (FLW) impact both food security and nutrition and the sustainability of food systems, in their capacity to ensure good quality and adequate food for this generation and future generations. FLW reduction is now presented as essential to improve food security and to reduce the environmental footprint of food systems. In this regard, the present study was conducted by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) at the request of the FAO Committee on World Food Security (CFS). The study examines causes and drivers of FLW in food systems; options to reduce FLW; proposals to enabling change to reduce FLW for sustainable food systems and food security.  In presenting the findings of the study, this report analyses FLW in a triple perspective: a systemic perspective, a sustainability perspective, including the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability, and a food security and nutrition perspective, looking at how food losses and waste relate to the various dimensions of food security and nutrition. The report presents a synthesis of existing evidence about the causes of food losses and waste and suggests action to reduce them in order to improve food and nutrition security and the sustainability of food systems. The aim of this report, given the diversity of contexts, is to help all concerned actors to reduce food losses and waste by identifying the causes and potential solutions that may be implemented, alone or in a coordinated way, by the relevant actors in the food system, including the public and private sectors, civil society, individual producers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers. Successful reduction of food losses and waste will save resources and has the potential to improve food security and nutrition goals shared with the Zero Hunger Challenge and the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

Key words: Food security: Nutrition; Sustainable food systems; CFS, HLPE, FAO



Dr Ridoutt is a Principal Research Scientist with Australia’s national science agency – The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). His expertise is in life cycle sustainability assessment which is applied to agricultural production, food systems and sustainable diets. Dr Ridoutt is actively involved in the development of improved calculation methods for sustainability assessment which can be used as a reliable basis for sustainability improvement. He has been a pioneer in the field of water footprinting and is currently leading a task group of the UNEP-SETAC Life Cycle Initiative on footprint indicators. He is also engaged in the international harmonisation of sustainability assessment and reporting aimed at reducing costs and risks for business and improving the quality of environmental declarations and labels directed toward the public. In this regard, he is the Australian delegate to several ISO working groups. Dr Ridoutt seeks to provide science-based evidence to inform the debate about sustainable food systems and sustainable diets. A special focus of his work has been the characterisation of food losses and waste. He is regularly invited to speak at significant national and international meetings. Dr Ridoutt has published around 60 papers in scientific journals. He has a PhD in plant physiology from the University of Melbourne.


Life Cycle Assessment: a Tool to Support Food Waste / Food Loss

Reduction strategies

Brad Ridoutt

CSIRO Agriculture, Private Bag 10, Clayton South, Victoria 3169, Australia



Loss and waste of food occur for many reasons. In some cases, particularly in developing countries, lack of access to infrastructure and technology can be a major contributing factor. However, very often, loss and waste of food persists because the effort and expense associated with taking action are not justified when viewed purely from a private financial perspective. The case for food loss / food waste reduction can be much more compelling when the environmental impacts are also recognised. In this presentation Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and related footprinting methodologies (e.g. carbon footprint, water footprint) will be presented as a way of quantifying the environmental burdens of food loss / food waste, thereby enabling a range of strategic options for intervention. Businesses in the food and beverage sectors that declare product environmental footprints or make public footprint reduction commitments are immediately incentivised to explore ways of reducing losses and waste, in their own operations and along the value chain, as a way of improving the footprint results. Organisational environmental footprints can motivate similar action. In developed countries, it is consumers who are typically responsible for the greatest levels of food waste. Public awareness of the environmental impacts of food waste can be used to support programs designed to educate consumers about ways to reduce food waste and change wasteful behaviours.



Prof. Dr.-Ing. Alexander Mathys is food technologist and received his PhD in food processing in 2008. He is Assistant Professor in Sustainable Food Processing at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland. As Head of the DIL Bioeconomy Department he is focusing on more efficiency and sustainability of value chains in food and feed. He was involved in non-thermal preservation and sterilisation technologies at the Nestlé Research Centre Lausanne in 2009-2012. Dr Mathys is the author of 57 publications and has attended more than 60 international conferences. He won several prestigious research awards at the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST), International Congress on Engineering and Food (ICEF), Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and European High Pressure Research Group (EHPRG).  Furthermore Dr Mathys was selected as a Young Researcher of the 60th Meeting of Nobel Laureates 2010, Einstein Young Scholar 2010 and A.T. Kearney Scholar 2011 and 2012 at the Falling Walls conferences. He has also served as lecturer, teacher, reviewer and supervisor with several universities and organisations.



Saving Resources through Innovative Concepts and Technologies

The concept of the bioeconomy covers the agricultural economy and all manufacturing sectors and associated service areas that develop, produce, process, handle or utilize any form of biological resources, such as plants, animals and microorganisms. There are five priority fields of action for further development: global food security, sustainable agricultural production, healthy and safe foods, the industrial application of renewable resources and the development of biomass-based energy carriers.

Sustainable food processing as a key driver of the bioeconomy covers process-product-operation interactions, where selected examples of innovative thermal, electro-magnetic, mechanical and combined processes will be presented and introduced hereater.

Modula thermal micro process engineering was effectively applied to improve upscaling of microbial inactivation processes and therefore save significant time and resource to implement the generated lab results.  Electro-magnetic based pulsed electrical field PEF processing enables an efficient use of biomass and energy within different value chains.  Consequently, PEF was successfully implemented into the potato and fruit juice processing chains with maximum capacity for cell disintegration up to 80 tons per hour.

During mechanical high pressure processing in batch, focused investigations on the property changes within pure water and more complex systems, such as proteins and microorganisms, enabled a detailed understanding of the respective process-product-operation interactions. Special focus was laid on bacterial spores, the target of sterilization. After studying spore inactivation in detail, classical high pressure preservation could be optimized through combined thermal and mechanical processes such as high pressure thermal sterisation as well as continuous ultra-high pressure processing up to 400 MPa as innovative multi hurdle technologies for gentle sterilization of healthy and high quality food.  

Advanced approaches relying on innovative raw materials and biorefinery concepts to create new and innovative value chains could even increase the impact of sustainable food processing. Such innovative value chains could be linked to novel opportunities to value alternative protein sources.  By using novel proteins rom algae, food security and sustainability of the protein supplies can be significantly  improved.  Connected biorefinery approaches within these innovative value chains realize the sustainable material and energetic utilization for a valorization of all side streams by applying combined processes.
Holistic life cycle sustainability assessment, aligned with the introduced process innovations, can evaluate the suggested solutions on a multi parameter base, in terms of improved food production sustainability. A focused knowledge transfer via food processing workshops as well as student and expert exchanges will assure the mid and long term impact of the presented solutions



Dr Hani Abu Qdais is a Professor of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering at the Department of Civil Engineering and Assistant to the President of Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST). Having 30 years of diverse experience in public, private and academic sectors, Dr Abu Qdais has obtained more than US$1.5 million of funds for his projects and published more than 35 papers in international refereed journals and proceedings of international conferences. Most of his publications are focusing on integrated waste and water management. Dr Abu Qdais has served as a consultant for several national and international agencies, such as the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Municipal Affairs, UNDP, GIZ, USAID, WHO, IDRC, FAO and projects funded by the World Bank.


 Food Waste as a Valuable Source of Clean Energy

Hani Abu Qdaisand Mohamad I. Al-Widyanb

a Corresponding author, Department of Civil Engineering, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, 22110, Jordan; e-:mail:

b Department of Mechanical Engineering,  Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, 22110, Jordan, e-mail:



In developing countries, food waste accounts for a significant fraction of municipal solid waste streams, where proper disposal poses a major challenge. This paper examined methane production from low- and high-solids food waste with and without inoculation by sewage sludge. In addition, kinetics of food waste biodegradation was analysed in a batch anaerobic digester under mesophilic conditions. It was found that the food waste biodegradation followed a first order model as evidenced by an R2 of 0.96 compared to 0.77 and 0.67 for the zero- and second-order models, respectively. The findings also indicated that samples of higher solids content enjoyed a shorter lag time while inoculation with sewage sludge resulted in a much shorter lag time and a significantly higher specific biogas production of up to 10 to 13 times as compared to the experiments without inoculation.

Dr Samuel Godefroy is a Professor of Food Risk Analysis and Regulatory Systems at the Department of Food Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University Laval, Québec, Canada. He is also leading the development of the Platform for Food Regulatory Excellence hosted by the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF) of the same university. Before Joining Université Laval in the fall of 2015, Dr Godefroy completed a secondment with the World Bank’s Global Food Safety Partnership where he was in charge of Strategic Development and Engagement. Under his leadership, this public-private partnership developed and adopted its 2015-2020 strategy, to guide its actions in food safety capacity building globally.


Dr Godefroy assumed senior food regulatory positions at the executive level with Health Canada for over 10 years, including the position of Director General of Health Canada’s Food Directorate, the Federal food standard setting organisation in Canada from 2009-15. He served as Vice Chair of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the international food standard setting body from 2011-14. During his tenure, he led the development and facilitated the adoption by consensus of the organisation’s strategic plan for 2014-19.


Dr Godefroy currently serves as a scientific and food regulatory expert on a number of advisory bodies and committees domestically and internationally, including the International Advisory Committee of the China Centre for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA) and on the Ministerial Advisory Board for Canada’s Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). He has authored over 65 scientific publications and book chapters, and serves on a number of international editorial boards of scientific journals related to food safety and nutrition. He received his PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI). He holds degrees in Chemistry, Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering from the same University and from the École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris, France,


Impact of Food Safety Practices on Food Wastage and Food Insecurity

Samuel Godefroy, University of Laval, Quebec, Canada

  • News Headlines
  • Reports & Summaries
  • Calendar of Events


IUFoST Scientific Information Bulletin (SIB)



John Spink, PhD
Food Fraud – and the focus on prevention – is an important and evolving food industry focus. Even though the vast majority of these incidents do not have a health hazard in some ways they are more dangerous because the substances and actions are unknown and untraceable.  The types of food fraud stretch the traditional role of food science and technology to include criminology, supply chain traceability and other control systems. The food authenticity and integrity testing will be the most complex actions and their value should be assessed in terms of the contribution to prevention. This Scientific Information Bulletin (SIB) presents an introduction, review of incidents, the fundamentals of prevention which then provide insight on the optimal role of Food Science and Technology.
See IUFoST SIBS below for the complete Food Fraud Prevention Scientific Information Bulletin.






Congratulations Prof. Dr. Purwiyatno Hariyadi

Congratulations to Prof. Dr. Puwiyatno Hariyadi who has been elected to the position of Vice-Chair of the  CODEX Alimentarius Commission.

Dr. Hariyadi is a Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology (IAFoST) and Senior scientist, SEAFAST Center; Professor, Dept. Food Science and Technology, Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia.

World Congress


Mumbai, India


October 23-27, 2018


Register at