Government should force supermarkets to give unsold food to the needy, say campaigners - with petition fetching over 100,000 signatures


Lewis Smith
Tuesday 26 May 2015 08:53 BST

An online petition urging the Government to force supermarkets to distribute unsold food among the needy has been signed by more than 100,000 people.

The petition, started a week ago, was inspired by French proposals to force supermarkets to send their unwanted food to charity.

While calling for supermarkets to stop throwing unsold produce away, the petition also urges the introduction of a voluntary £2 payment to be added to all online orders to fund a delivery service to those who need the donated food.

By Tuesday night the petition had been signed by more than 109,000 people which would be enough on the government’s official petition website to trigger a Parliamentary debate.

It was posted on the 38 Degrees campaign website by Lizzie Swarf who urged: “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.”

Citing the French experience she added: “Given that the UK is facing an ever-more worrying reliance on food banks, shouldn’t we be thinking along these lines too?

“Under the next 5 years of Conservative government, people will be encouraged to live an ever-more healthy life-style to reduce the pressure on the NHS. What better way to do this than to ensure the most needy have access to fresh fruit and vegetables and other basic essentials they currently can only class as a luxury if on benefits or a very low income?

“Those of us who are lucky enough to be able to afford wonderful groceries delivered to our doorstep could donate an extra £2 per purchase to ensure that fresh fruit and veg and other essential groceries are delivered to someone in need en route to our homes.

“You might be utterly surprised, David Cameron, just how many of us would be willing to sign up to such a scheme, thus ensuring the sick, disabled and elderly have a much-needed helping hand.”

Arash Derambarsh, the councillor behind the campaign to force French markets to stop throwing away food, wants to see similar rules put in place in the Uk and around the world.

He said it was “scandalous and absurd” that people are allowed to go hungry when perfectly good food is being thrown away by supermarkets.

Last year, according to the TUC, 913,138 people used food banks in the UK, a rise from 128,697 in 2012.

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