We’ve blogged about food waste in the past but it has been announced that MPs will debate a new bill later this week, which would force manufacturers and supermarkets to donate extra, leftover food to charities.
It is Labour MP Kerry McCarthy that is bringing the bill forward under parliament’s 10-minute rule, which allows private members’ bills to be introduced by MPs. It will be read on Wednesday 14th March, with a parliamentary launch to take place on Tuesday.
McCarthy is calling for three legislative changes – she wants to make incentives for smaller companies that generate food waste, as well as public bodies, to donate their leftover food, place a legal obligation or large manufacturers and supermarkets to donate their surplus food to charity and make food that is not suitable for humans, to be given for livestock feed. Finally, she is calling for the United Kingdom to introduce an equivalent to the US’s Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which means that food donors and food banks who donate surplus food in good faith, are not liable from prosecution e.g. if the food causes food poisoning.
We all know that food waste is a big problem in the UK and it has been pointed out by many people in the industry including restaurants, cafes, manufacturers, restaurant insurance providers and supermarkets. McCarthy says that food waste was an increasingly environmental concern, with food waste across the EU currently set to rise by 40% by 2020, “By creating a surplus of – uneaten – food, the global food industry is adding pressure on scarce land and resources, contributing to deforestation, needlessly adding to global greenhouse gas emissions and helping to drive up global food prices,” she said.
McCarthy added her proposals were the consequence of a “brainstorming” meeting with Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, FareShare, Food Cycle, author Tristram Stuart and Sodexo.