Food Waste 'Is Morally Repugnant', Say Lords
The scale of food waste, which sees 15 million tonnes of food dumped each year in the UK and at least 90 million tonnes across the EU, has been branded "morally repugnant" by a House of Lords committee.
The Lords EU Committee said supermarkets should abolish "buy one get one free" offers and not cancel orders of food from farmers after the produce has been grown, a practice which leads to edible food being ploughed back into the fields.
They also suggested that more unused food sold by retailers should be donated to food banks, rather than sent for composting or landfill as is often the case at present.
In a report, the committee said EU efforts to reduce food waste were "fragmented and untargeted" and called for the new European Commission to publish a five-year strategy within six months of taking office later this year.
Committee chairwoman Baroness Scott said: "Food waste in the EU and the UK is clearly a huge issue. Not only is it morally repugnant, but it has serious economic and environmental implications.
"The fact that 90 million tonnes of food is wasted across the EU each year shows the extent of the problem and explains why we are calling for urgent action.
"Globally, consumers in industrialised nations waste up to 222 million tons of food a year, which is equivalent to nearly the entire level of net food production of Sub-Saharan Africa.
"We cannot allow the complexity of the issues around defining and monitoring food waste to delay action any further.
"We are calling on the new European Commission, which will be appointed in November this year, to publish a five-year strategy for reducing food waste across the EU, and to do so within six months of taking office."
The report found that the carbon footprint of worldwide food waste is equivalent to twice the global greenhouse gas emissions of all road transportation in the US.
Lady Scott added: "We were shocked at the extent of food waste in the EU. Especially given the current economic challenges the EU faces, it is an absolutely shocking waste of resources.
"Some efforts are already being made, which is very positive, but much more can be done, and so we are calling on the EU, the Government, businesses and consumers to make sure it is."