Call for action tackling 'travesty' of waste food
HULL politician Karl Turner has called for action after a report revealed up to half the world's food is thrown away.
The report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) suggests poor storage, strict sell-by dates, bulk offers and consumer fussiness is leading to a mountain of food being thrown out.
Mr Turner, MP for Hull East, said it was a "travesty" so much food was being wasted "given that so many people are going without meals".
Now, he is backing a call by charity FareShare for the food industry to divert surplus food for distribution to people in need.
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FareShare works with more than 700 grassroots charities to help people in need.
The Labour MP, who is a FareShare patron in Hull, said the charity played a "critical role" in addressing food poverty by making use of "surplus food fit for human consumption".
He said: "MPs, councillors and community leaders should be showing leadership on this issue and work with FareShare, community groups and the food industry to alleviate levels of food poverty.
"Food businesses should also recognise the role they can play in alleviating food poverty by working with FareShare to distribute surplus food to those in need."
There has been a six-fold increase in the use of food banks – distributing food to families on low incomes – over the past three years, sparking widespread concern.
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister was repeatedly pressed about the problem by MPs during Question Time in Parliament.
FareShare chief executive Lindsay Boswell said: "Last year, we redistributed 3,600 tonnes of surplus food that helped feed 36,500 people in need every day. But we have a mountain to climb.
"The demand for our services has grown dramatically, 59 per cent in the past 12 months, and we estimate that we handle less than 0.1 per cent of the surplus food available.
"We desperately need more responsible food companies to work with us. If just one per cent of the surplus food in the UK was given to FareShare, we could provide 70 million meals for people in need."
According to the IME report Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not, as much as half the world's food, two billion tonnes, is wasted.
The study claimed up to 30 per cent of vegetables in the UK were not harvested because of their physical appearance, while half the food bought in Europe was simply thrown away.