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MPs call on Government to tackle food waste

21st Oct 2021 - 07:00
A group of over 50 MPs have written a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging the Government to take ‘urgent’ action on food waste and to help vulnerable families receive over 50 million meals.

Two million tonnes of fresh, unsold food is wasted every year in the UK. Funding to help farmers and food producers get this surplus food to frontline charities has now ended. If the funding was extended it could create an additional 53 million meals for vulnerable families.

The letter is part of the #FoodOnPlates campaign, run by FareShare, the UK’s largest food redistribution charity. They are calling on the Government to commit to vital food waste funding ahead of next week’s Comprehensive Spending Review. 

Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of FareShare, commented: “In 2019, the Government demonstrated a bold commitment to tackling food waste, with a successful trial that diverted millions of meals’ worth of great quality food from British farms to frontline charities providing care and support to vulnerable families. 

“With just over a week until the Comprehensive Spending Review and two weeks until COP, we urge the Government to once again show leadership on this issue and commit to extending vital funding to get in-date, nutritious food onto people’s plates.”  

The letter, which has been signed by 53 MPs, calls for £5m a year to offset the costs of redistributing food from farmers to charities. This will also help the UK to mitigate 124,378 tonnes of carbon.

Neil Parish, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, added: “It’s heart-breaking that good, healthy food, from growers and producers is being wasted in this country when it could be being put to good use by an existing network of almost 11,000 food-providing charities, such as pantries, breakfast clubs, refuges and older people’s lunch clubs. 

“Food redistribution is an elegant solution to the problem of food waste – one which benefits both the planet and our local communities, and ensures farmers in rural constituencies like mine can do the right thing with their surplus, morally and environmentally, without losing out financially.” 

The full list of signatures can be found here.

Written by
Edward Waddell