If you did what Don Stull does, it might just put you off your feed, as the old farmers say. But you should be very glad he does it.
“We do things that help take all the bad things off food,” Stull said, simplifying an advanced technology that his company, MicroZap, Inc., has patented with Texas Tech University.
In the process of developing that technology, he said, he has learned a plethora of information about food safety and food security. His TED Talk will concentrate on food waste and the impact it has globally, as well as how it might be solved.
In the United States, alone, Stull said, 40 percent of all food is wasted due to spoilage and 76 million cases of food borne illness are reported each year.
“Think of all that waste,” he said. “There’s enough food in the world to feed all the people, but it spoils before we can get it there.”
Then there’s water.
“We send dehydrated meals to a country and they’re great, nutritious, and solve a lot of problems for many people,” Stull said. “But they grab water out of a stream or out of the tap … and they put water into that dehydrate mal that will kill you.”
It’s a problem of huge proportions, Stull said. “Not that many people really understand how big a problem this is. I want them to think about, how do we change this?
“If we didn’t throw away 40 percent of our own food in the United States, how many nations could we feed with that?” he said. “And every dollar we spend in water purification, there’s a $30 return in economic gain.”
Stull said he hopes to have his audience gain “an enhanced perspective” of the issue. And he joked, “When I first got into this, I lost 10 pounds because I was afraid to eat anything!
“I don’t think most Americans have a clue how serious it is,” he said, adding when most Americans are hungry, there’s a grocery story close or a fast food restaurant, so that most of them never think about people who live in areas where that simply is not the case.
“I want them to wonder, is there something I can do?”