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Shops may be forced to give away leftovers

SUPERMARKETS could be forced to donate unsold food to charities under plans to end the “scandal” of hunger proposed yesterday by Labour MP Kerry McCarthy.

Britain produces 400,000 tons of food every year, but just 2 per cent of surplus food is redistributed.

Now Ms McCarthy has tabled a Bill that would require supermarkets and manufacturers to redistribute 30 per cent of unsold produce by 2025.

She told MPs: “If we cut food waste by just a quarter, there would be enough to feed everyone on this planet.

“It is a scandal that we are not doing so.”

If it becomes law, her legislation would make Britain’s groceries giants sign formal agreement with existing food redistribution organisations.

In a bid to shame bosses into action, the measure would also compel supermarkets to come clean about how much food they waste every year.

“It cannot be right that good, edible food is thrown away — or turned into compost or energy — when people are going to bed hungry, skipping meals or can’t afford to give their children a nutritious evening meal,” Ms McCarthy added.

A second reading has been scheduled for January 29.

Ms McCarthy said she was hopeful that government whips would allow the Bill to progress to the committee stage and that ministers may adopt some, if not all, of her proposals.

Tory Environment Minister Rory Stewart says he favours voluntary targets for supermarkets. So far, only Tesco has committed to publishing food waste figures.

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