South Gloucestershire councillors will be asked to support actions to reduce the amount of food wasted in the supply chain when they meet next week. Labour Group Leader Councillor Pat Rooney has tabled a motion for the Council meeting on 9 December backing efforts by Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy to legislate to reduce the amount of food wasted, which a Parliamentary Select Committee has described as "unacceptably high". She will be asking the Council to promote food waste reduction campaigns and calling on local MPs to back Ms McCarthy's Bill.
PHOTOGRAPH - Cllr Pat Rooney with Kerry McCarthy MP
Speaking when moving the Bill in Parliament, Kerry McCarthy explained:
"This Bill is not primarily about household food waste, on which the public focus tends to be. More than half the food wasted is wasted by the food industry across the supply chain, and that is my focus today. In the UK we distribute only 2% of our fit-for-consumption surplus food. France redistributes 20 times more, so we could do an awful lot better.
Waste in the supermarket chain is generated because of things such as poor demand forecasting, over-ordering or cosmetic requirements - the need for fruit and vegetables to be free from visual imperfections. An estimated 20% to 40% of perfectly edible UK fruit and veg is rejected by supermarkets before it even reaches the shops."
Councillor Pat Rooney (Woodstock ward) comments:
"I very much hope that all colleagues on the Council will support this motion, which has cross-party backing in Parliament. The data that Kerry has exposed about the level and causes of food waste should shock us all. Her Bill would require large supermarkets and manufacturers to publish and transparently report their food waste across the supply chain, and to meet targets for reducing their food waste.
I am calling on the Council to publicise the issue of food waste and raise awareness among our residents, and to ask the district's MPs to back the Bill when it returns to Parliament in January."