Over 110,000 people have signed a petition that calls for David Cameron to follow France’s example and force UK supermarkets to donate edible food to charities – but food distribution charity, Fareshare, says “food surplus is not solely a supermarket issue”.
France is set to put a ban in place that will stop supermarkets in the country from disposing unsold food to landfill. Under the new law, supermarket chains will have to donate food – which would have been discarded to landfill – to charity for human consumption, or turn it into animal feed, compost or energy.
FareShare – “France currently, partly with government funding, redistributes 20 times more surplus food than the UK – we need wide spread support in order to try and match this achievement as an ambition”
Stores larger than 400 square metres must sign a contract with a charity to donate edible products. (read CIWM Journal Online story)
In response, over 110,000 people – and the number is still rising – have signed a petition urging the Prime Minister to copy the legislation.
The petition founder, Lizzie Swarf, said: “Given that the UK is facing an ever-more worrying reliance on food banks, shouldn’t we be thinking along these lines too?
“Rather than wasting millions of pounds worth of food that is still usable, make supermarkets donate their leftover products that are still safe to eat, to food banks.”
FareShare, a UK charity that works with supermarkets to redistribute food “waste”, however, says the majority of surplus food is further up the supply chain.
It says there is a significant difference between the extent to which food is being redistributed in France. The French food industry, Government and associated charities have already made huge inroads in tapping food further up the supply chain, amongst manufacturers, where it says the majority of surplus occurs.
“While Government intervention can be a positive step in trying to achieve waste minimisation and a fairer system that promotes surplus redistribution in the food industry, we believe that the best results are obtained when food companies realise the potential and the benefits linked to redistribution,” the charity says.
“We need Government to support food redistribution so that FareShare can more easily access food elsewhere in the supply chain”
“In order to successfully divert surplus food from waste, food companies across the whole supply chain must establish processes and systems that anticipate and identify surplus food within their operations and make it available for charities such as FareShare. This approach brings about significant environmental, social and economic benefits.”
It says government can help by ensuring that food redistribution is seen as an important piece of the puzzle to reduce food waste overall.
“We need Government to support food redistribution so that FareShare can more easily access food elsewhere in the supply chain.
“France currently, partly with government funding, redistributes 20 times more surplus food than the UK – we need wide spread support in order to try and match this achievement as an ambition,” it says.
Do you think the UK should follow France’s lead? HAVE YOUR SAY on CIWM Journal Online’s opinion poll on the HOMEPAGE.