Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas is championing a new campaign in Parliament to force the big supermarkets and food manufacturers to donate a proportion of their “waste” food to charities feeding people living in food poverty.
The Food Waste Bill, launched last week by Kerry McCarthy, the MP for Bristol East, highlights the scale of the food waste problem, and calls on the Government to act to stop businesses and public bodies from throwing away food that could be donated.
Following her visit to FareShare Brighton & Hove in the autumn, Caroline paid tribute to the local organisations already working hard to distribute good quality food that would otherwise go to waste to feed the city’s most vulnerable people.
But she said it was now crucial that the Government introduce a legal obligation on supermarkets and large manufacturers to make sure that more of their waste food is saved from the bin and redirected to charities.
Caroline said: “At a time when people are struggling to feed their families, and the environmental impact of our inefficient food system is worsening, it’s completely unacceptable that so much of our food waste ends up in the bin.
“A recent survey by Netmums found that one in five mums skip meals so their children can eat.
“Foodbanks serving the most vulnerable people rely on donations from supermarkets and manufacturers of food that would otherwise be thrown away. But only a tiny proportion of that food actually gets donated.
“Voluntary organisations such as FareShare Brighton and Hove and the Food Partnership in my constituency are already doing fantastic work in redistributing some of the city’s waste food.
“Last year FareShare workers recovered 300 tonnes of good quality ‘waste’ food from manufacturers and retailers.
“But we now need the Government to act to incentivise food donation from supermarkets and other businesses to ensure that surplus food reaches the people who need it most.
“So I welcome the Food Waste Bill as a call to arms to address the social and environmental consequences of the way we produce, consume and dispose of our food – and to create a national food policy that is fit for purpose.”
Ian Chisnall at Brighton and Hove Fareshare said: “Having had the opportunity to meet Caroline at FareShare and provide her with an insight into the work we do here, I am delighted that she is now pushing for a positive change in food waste policy in Parliament.
“Food poverty is a serious concern for our city and, unfortunately, it’s a problem that looks set to worsen. In Brighton and Hove alone, FareShare already contributes towards as many as 13,000 meals a week.
“We therefore welcome this cross party campaign to encourage businesses and organisations to donate far more of their food to charities who can help distribute it, rather than simply throwing it away.”
The Food Waste (Ten Minute Rule) Bill was launched on 13 March 2012 by Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East. It seeks to address barriers to food donation and ensure that more of the good quality food wasted by supermarkets and manufacturers is donated to charities feeding people in food poverty. The Bill has cross party support, and is also backed by Friends of the Earth, WWF-UK, Lorraine Pascale (author of best selling cookery books and presenter of TV cookery series), FareShare, FoodCycle and Feeding the 5000.
For more information please contact the Brighton and Hove Green Party on 01273 766 670