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Developed countries are leading the way when it comes to food wastage, according to a UK report.

The study carried out by the London-based Institution of Mechanical Engineers claims up to half of all the food produced worldwide is not eaten for reasons including poor harvesting, transport and storage.

Consumer behaviour is particularly to blame in the West, with ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates confusing customers and leading to up to 50 percent of what is bought in the supermarket ending up in the bin.

“The problem of food waste is dominant in industrialised countries because in developing countries there is generally a much higher level of poverty, people simply can’t afford to waste any food,” said Robert Van Otterdijk, an Agro-Industry Officer at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

In developing countries, problems with harvesting and storage still lead to food to being thrown away.

The world produces about four billion metric tonnes of food each year, but 1.2 to 2 billion tonnes are not eaten, according to the study.

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