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Labour environment shadow sets out stall

New shadow environment secretary Kerry McCarthy, appointed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, has outlined her “long-standing” campaigning interest in food waste.

In a statement issued following her appointment, she pointed to her Food Waste (Reduction) Bill, which was launched on 9 September and has received cross-bench backing.

She said it had “a huge amount of support, not just from food waste campaigners and environmentalists, but also from the general public”.

It was launched under the 10-minute rule and is listed for a second reading in the House of Commons on 29 January next year.

The Bill criticises the food industry’s voluntary targets as “not ambitious enough” to meet EU and UN targets on food waste reduction.

Accordingly, it would require large supermarkets and manufacturers to reduce their food waste by 30% by 2025, in line with the expected target in the draft EU circular economy package.

It also said it would reverse the “perverse incentive” of making it cheaper to dispose of food near its use-by date for feedstock in anaerobic digestion facilities rather than redistribution.

Speaking at the House of Commons last week, resources minister Rory Stewart said he was “happy to sit down” and look closely at the details of the Bill with McCarthy.

He added: “Certain retailers, such as Tesco, are beginning to make huge progress, as she knows. Recently, there have been studies on, for example, bananas in the supply chain, and an app has been launched with FareShare to enable charities to get food from supermarkets. That is a good example of progress, but I am happy to learn more.”

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