Monday, 14 September 2015

Support the Food Waste Reduction Bill

Last week, I was pleased to be invited to participate in ITV’s “The West Country at Westminster” alongside the Labour MP for Bristol East, Kerry McCarthy, and the Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View, Johnny Mercer.

The topics for discussion were very topical and included the recent so-called “devolution deal” for Cornwall, the refugee crisis and the Labour leadership contest.

But also covered on the programme was the fantastic initiative for a Food Waste Reduction Bill, which is being actively promoted by Ms McCarthy.

The Bill seeks to ensure that food being “needlessly wasted through the food industry … is prevented or made available to charities, for redistribution to people living in food poverty.”

The Bristol MP herself reports that the “amount of food wasted in the UK is a scandal.” She has also referred to the situation as “obscene,” adding that “in the European Union, up to 50% of edible and healthy food gets wasted.”

Her Bill would “oblige supermarkets to donate unsold food” to food banks and charities; set ambitious food waste targets; require “large supermarkets and manufacturers to publish and transparently report their food waste across the supply chain;” and “require the Government to review its current system of fiscal measures, which perversely makes it cheaper to sell food nearing its use-by date for anaerobic-digestion and composting, rather than for redistribution.”

I am pleased to see that the Bill is winning considerable cross-party support.

One Conservative MP has rightly declared that “food waste is not only an environmental concern but a social problem too.” He expressed the strong view that it is “morally right” for large retailers to make “food that would be dumped anyway” available to those “most in need or struggling.”

One of Ms McCarthy’s Labour colleagues has described the situation as a “national scandal” noting that “while thousands of people are forced to go hungry, supermarkets throw away tonnes of perfectly good food every year.”

The UK’s sole Green MP has meanwhile described the Bill as a “call to arms” to “address the social and environmental consequences of the way we produce, consume and dispose of our food.”

If you agree with me that a Food Waste Reduction Bill is an excellent proposal, please write to your local MP asking them to proactively support this legislation.

[This will be my article in this coming week's article in the Cornish Guardian].

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