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50% of Edible Food in Europe is Wasted

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50% of Edible Food in Europe is Wasted
Photo Sporkist / Flickr

Pressure is mounting on UK supermarkets to reduce the amount of food they waste each day. The Labour MP (Member of Parliament), Kerry McCarthy, has taken on the fight with the UK Parliament after recently proposing a Food Waste Bill. The bill is designed to draw attention to the growing amount of waste across the food sector as Ms McCarthy believes that around 50% of all edible and healthy food in the EU is actually wasted.

The idea of the bill is to pass legislation that forces supermarkets to redistribute their waste food to charities and people who live below the food poverty line.

The Bill was presented to the House of Commons on Wednesday and received cross party support. It will receive a second reading in parliament, however, it's highly unlikely any new legislation will be passed to support the bill.

Food waste is a growing concern around the world with many food experts and leaders predicting that huge amounts of waste food will lead to problems in the future. There is also research to suggest that by 2015 over half-a-million people in the UK will rely on some sort of food donation.

It's hard to say exactly why so much food is wasted. Some people blame big food chains, some blame chefs and their constant campaigns for fresh food, others, such as the Tory MP Anne Main, blame common sense. She said on Wednesday at the hearing: "I am one of the old school who looks at an apple and if it's not wrinkly and growing a few things out of the top of it, will happily eat it regardless of the date. My children read the top of a yoghurt and say 'Oh mum, that was out of date yesterday' and want to throw it out."

Supermarkets can certainly help reduce the amount through redistribution and many are working hard to reduce their waste but consumers have an equal role to play. Attitudes and education can go a long way in reducing food waste as more people learn how to manage food, understand when it is still healthy to eat and learn recipes for using leftovers foods. Bread is apparently the most wasted food in Britain with around 32% of all bread purchased ending up in the bin.

Sources: BBC, PA, The Guardian

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