Free lunches handed out to highlight food waste

Rob Dale
Wednesday 16 December 2009 17:27
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With countries stalling over policies in Copenhagen, one easy way to cut down on emissions seems rather obvious - eat food more carefully. Recent estimations show that 10 per cent of the worlds richest countries greenhouse gas emissions come from growing food which is never eaten.

Speaking today at the 'Feeding the 5000' event in Trafalgar Square, London, leading food waste campaigner Tristram Stuart teamed up with charities to highlight the global problems with food waste and demonstrate some practical ways to solve it.

'Food is a basic human need but 1 billion people in the world are malnourished' he said. 'Even in the UK there are 4 million people unable to afford a healthy diet. There is plenty in the world, yet the amount of waste at every level of the system means many still go without. What we're showing here is that the easiest solution to this problem is quite simply to eat it. This isn't just about showing people how to save money, its about showing everyone how we can help protect the environment.'

The ingredients used in the feast were collected from local traders. Most was either excess stock or had been deemed unsellable due to irregular shape or size. With this volunteers worked from early in the morning to provide enough free curries, fruit bags and smoothies for five thousand passers-by.

The other food used was donated having passed its sell-by dates. Confusion over date labelling on food is estimated to result in 400,000 tonnes of food being thrown into landfill each year. Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has called for supermarkets and food manufacturers to scrap the use of best-before and sell-by dates on food packaging.

He said, 'Thousands of tonnes are being thrown unnecessarily into landfill. There it converts in greenhouse gases and adds to the climate problem. Its not just costing us money, it's costing us the earth.'

Speaking on this, Mr Stuart told the Independent, 'politicians like Mr Benn have the right ideas on food waste, they just seem to lack the power to enforce them upon the supermarkets.'

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