MPs question Robbie Moore on mandatory food waste reporting


Houses of Parliament

During a parliamentary debate, Recycling Minister Robbie Moore said the UK government will decide on whether to implement mandatory food waste reporting before 2026 soon.

Moore was questioned by MPs yesterday (16 April) during a parliamentary debate on mandatory food waste reporting and said an announcement would be made soon. Last year, the UK government withdrew its previous response to its consultation on mandatory food waste reporting and said the Environment Secretary was reconsidering a mandate.

In a wide-ranging update to its 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy, Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) announced it would not mandate waste measurement and reporting for large food businesses until 2026, despite 80% of respondents to a 2022 consultation being in favour of a mandate for large food businesses.

During the debate, Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West, described mandatory food waste reporting as a “relatively light-touch and simple intervention, which could be hugely cost-effective, incentivising large food businesses to cut down on their waste, and incentivising redistribution”.

Too Good To Go, an app that allows people to buy surplus food and drink items from restaurants, grocery stores, pubs, cafes and producers to stop them from going to waste, was mentioned several times during the debate. 

The food redistribution company previously described the delay to mandatory food waste reporting as a “significant blow” to the UK’s efforts to reduce food waste. Jamie Crummie, Co-founder of Too Good To Go, said the delay was “disheartening and regressive”.

Deidre Brock, Scottish National Party MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, brought up Too Good To Go’s comments during the debate and said she was dismayed at the government’s “intransigence” on the issue of food waste.

Brock commented: “The European Commission has proposed introducing legally binding targets to try to limit food waste across the EU, leaving the UK behind once again in progressive regulation.”

We are gathering new evidence to make the most informed decision using the latest available data.

Replying to MPs, Recycling Minister Robbie Moore, said: “We support Courtauld’s delivery of the food waste reduction road map, which provides guidance to businesses on identifying and measuring food waste and food surplus. 

“We support the ‘target, measure, act’ approach, as it enables food businesses to drive down food waste through measuring their surplus and waste. It also shines a light on any surplus that arises and how to get it to redistributors.

“We consulted on improving the voluntary approach with options that included making it mandatory for large businesses. Members will be aware that when the Secretary of State took up his position in November last year, alongside a new ministerial team that includes me, our determination was to review previous decisions. 

“We are gathering new evidence to make the most informed decision using the latest available data. We look forward to making that decision soon.” 

Moore went on to say that he had met Too Good To Go in his West Yorkshire constituency and called it a “fantastic organisation”. Moore said he “took on board” the points the company made in its request to roll out mandatory reporting before 2026 and a decision is being considered by the Secretary of State “as we speak”.

Moore said the food and drink surplus and waste hierarchy lays out “clear guidance” for the use and disposal of surplus food and waste. He asked all businesses to take into account the measures that the government wish to take, particularly about the food hierarchy.

The Recycling Minister also said anaerobic digestion is the government’s preferred option for recycling food that eventually ends up as waste. 

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