KUALA LUMPUR: Food which can feed two million hungry Malaysians goes to waste and is thrown away each day, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
"Based on a study by SWCorp Malaysia, some 3,000 tons of food items, which are considered still good and safe for consumption, are thrown away each day.
"If served, the food can feed two million people.
"However, the food is not saved but thrown away instead," said the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister when answering a question by Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (PH-Ledang) in Parliament on Thursday (Oct 25).
To address this, Saifuddin said the government would roll out its Malaysia Food Bank programme this January to manage and distribute food saved from being thrown away.
He noted that several hypermarkets and retail operators such as Tesco, Aeon, Aeon Big, Mydin GCH Retail, TH Valuemart, 99 Speedmart and Ecosave have agreed to participate in the programme.
In addition, Saifuddin said Kechara Food Bank, Food Aid Foundation and Mutiara Food Bank, as well as volunteers from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and non-government organisations would be involved in the programme.
At present, he said, Melaka, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Johor were involved in the food bank's pilot project to feed the needy.
"A total of 835,000kg worth of food have been collected since August and distributed to 25,000 households," he said.
He said a food bank programme would have a huge impact on families needing assistance to make ends meet.
"For example, if we can give bread and food stuff worth RM30 to a single mother who works as dishwasher and has five children every day, this would mean that she would be able to save that amount of money for her family," he said.
Saifuddin added that the food would be distributed directly to the families by volunteers without pomp or pageantry.
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