A group of MPs has urged supermarkets to relax visual specifications for fresh produce as part of efforts to reduce food waste.
The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee of the House of Commons also called on the Government to establish a national food waste reduction target to drive efforts to reduce the food waste costing the average person in the UK £200 per year and suggested supermarkets should publicly report data on the amount of food they throw away.
Other issues the committee raised included the need to raise public awareness of food waste, which is estimated to cost the average family between £470 and £700 a year, and a need to continue funding for WRAP.
The report also recommended that, ‘The incoming Government should continue the current review with WRAP and the Food Standards Agency on food date labelling, with a view to issuing guidance to industry by the end of the year. The review should specifically look at whether there is a need for ‘best before’ dates at all.’
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Two reports have highlighted the need to maintain access to agricultural labour after Brexit.
The House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee report, Feeding the nation: labour constraints, was launched following claims that labour shortages could see food rotting in the fields. Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment Food, and Rural Affairs Committee, said, “Without sufficient labour, both from the UK and overseas, agricultural and horticultural businesses cannot function. For a long time the industry has relied on foreign workers to perform temporary and permanent roles to make good shortages in the availability of UK labour; UK agriculture could not function without foreign labour. The period since 23 June 2016 has seen increased difficulties for businesses recruiting foreign labour and has presented severe challenges for the industry.
“Government statistics do not properly measure the problem and should be reviewed so that the sector is confident that post-Brexit immigration policies are based on an accurate assessment of agriculture’s demand for, and supply of, foreign labour.”
Jack Ward, British Growers Association Chief Executive, welcomed the report: “It is refreshing to see an independent report that more accurately reflects the needs of fresh produce and other industries, and acknowledges the continuing need for overseas labour, whether on a permanent or seasonal basis.”
Just days later a key report on agriculture and Brexit from the House of Lords’ EU Committee called on the government to address “Immediate challenge,” of labour availability as the UK’s withdrawal from the EU approaches. The report added that the government is sending “mixed messages” to the agriculture industry.
Photo Caption: Neil Parrish MP
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