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Food waste

This issue is particularly important in our local area, where many of our farmers supply supermarkets, and I have no doubt that they would not want to see their produce go to waste.

It is also welcome news that Ministers have backed several rounds of the Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement to limit waste, which 90 per cent of the food manufacturing and retailer sector have signed up to. As a result, domestic household food waste has already been reduced by 21 per cent, and food waste in the supply chain has reduced by 8 per cent. The process has also seen the amount of redistributed surplus food double between 2011 and 2013.

Separately, a voluntary agreement within the hospitality and food services industry was launched in 2012. Over 170 signatories and supporters have signed up to an ambitious set of targets both to reduce the amount of food waste they produce, and to manage it better by recycling and sending food for anaerobic digestion to produce energy.

Government also continues to work closely with industry to help them forge closer links with redistribution charities across the whole supply chain. It is wrong that anyone should go hungry at the same time as surplus food is going to waste.

I was interested to hear about the new French policy of requiring supermarkets to donate food that would otherwise go to waste to charity. While I am not aware of any current plans to replicate it in the UK, I will be monitoring the situation as it develops.