Pope: Wasting Food ‘Like Stealing’ From Poor

June 5, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Pope Francis said Wednesday that people should not waste food.

“Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry,” he said at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, according to the Religion News Service.

Francis made the comments as the United Nations launched its campaign to end food waste.

“Once our grandparents were very careful not to throw away any leftover food. Consumerism has led us to become used to an excess and daily waste of food, to which, at times we are no longer able to give a just value,” he said, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Francis has called on the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to help the poor and be more austere.

The U.N. food agency estimates that around 1.43 billion tons of food–or around a third produced for human consumption–is wasted each year, according to NBC News.