Food losses and waste: how Brazil is facing this global challenge?
ABSTRACT By 2017, Brazil seems to have finally awakened to the problem of food loss and waste. In this article, we resume the topic started in the article “Postharvest losses of perishables in Brazil: what do we know so far?” published earlier this year, but now with an emphasis on food losses and waste (FLW). We divided this article into four sections: (a) search for scientific publications on postharvest losses (PHL) and food waste (FW) in Portuguese; (b) social classes and food consumption in Brazil and household food waste; (c) the national legal framework on FLW; and (d) current food security policies and civil society actions on FLW. Google Scholar searches yielded 46,100 records for FW and 16,100 for PHL, but only 37 and 19 records, respectively, when the searches were restricted to the title of the papers. There is a clear division of subjects: PHL is more related to Agriculture and Economy and FW to Health, Nutrition and the Environment, and reasons and consequences are discussed. Food consumption and waste in Brazil must take into account the great social heterogeneity and high income inequality, as well as some unexpected driving cultural reasons. About 30 bills related to food waste have been discussed in the Brazilian Congress since 1997, with a low expectation of approval in the short term. In the absence of a regulatory framework to reduce losses and facilitate the donation of food, society has found its own way of dealing with the problem. Some initiatives are presented here, along with some governmental food security policies which had positive impacts in reducing FLW, such as National School Feeding Program (PNAE), food banks and popular restaurants. Some international movements are also beginning to gain strength in Brazil, e.g., the purchase of fruits and vegetables outside of aesthetic standards, “SaveFood Brasil”, “Slow Food”, among others. These are all put in perspective.