Food Recycling on the Rise in Japan

(NaturalNews) Rising food, fertilizer and fuel costs have led to a boom in Japan’s food recycling industry, with formerly reluctant farmers turning to recycled animal feed in droves.

Japan imports approximately 75 percent of all its animal feed, including more corn for that function than any other country. But high prices of fuel, corn and soy meal have pushed the costs of traditional feed so high that recycled feed can now be purchased for half the price. At the same time, government legislation has encouraged the development of a recycling industry and has started imposing recycling requirements on companies that throw out more than 100 metric tons of food per year.

Approximately 20 million metric tons of food go into Japan’s waste stream each year, an amount five times as high as the total amount of food aid that went to the poor worldwide in 2007. The food industry is the single biggest source of this waste, in part due to health laws that require the disposal of unsold items from restaurants and convenience stores.

Seventy percent of food industry waste is now recycled in Japan, with approximately 50 percent of it turned into animal feed.

“At first, corporate waste was converted into manure, and more of the waste is now turned into feed, which is more lucrative,” said Yasufumi Miwa of Japan Research Institute Ltd.

Due to regulations intended to stop the spread of mad cow disease, recycled feed cannot be fed to cattle or sheep, and is instead goes to pigs and chickens.

While many have praised the practice of reclaiming food, some consumer health advocates have been critical of the practice. Junichi Kowaka of Japan Offspring Fund, for example, expressed concern that animal feed synthesize from fast food might lack essential nutrients that animals (and the humans that eat them) need.

Sources for this story include: www.reuters.com.

Friday, December 19, 2008
by: David Gutierrez, staff writer

Source: Natural News

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