MPs to eat meal of leftover food

Pic: FoodCycle, Hackney Hub

A charity that saves food from bins and turns it into free meals for those in need will be playing host to some special lunch guests in Hackney: a group of MPs.

Members of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee will be visiting Foodcycle’s Hackney centre to eat a meal of leftover food later today, Thursday, in an attempt to raise awareness of how much edible food Brits throw away.

FoodCycle describes itself as “a charity based on the simple idea that food waste and food poverty should not co-exist”.

MPs will dine at the charity’s Hackney Hub in Ainsworth Road along with regular service users in an effort to learn more about the issue.

The cross-party committee is investigating ways to ensure more surplus food is donated to charity, instead of going to waste. Last year, the UK produced 10 million tonnes of post farm-gate food waste, 60% of which could have been avoided.

In addition, UN data shows that 8.4 million people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat – a figure that’s equivalent to the population of London.

The Trussell Trust, which operates 429 food banks nationally, said the usage of food banks is at a record high. Last year, over 1 million people used its food banks, up from 128,697 five years ago.

EFRA Committee member and MP for Poplar and Limehouse Jim Fitzpatrick told East London Lines that the visit was for information and advice and that they had no idea what to expect.

The MP, who is temporarily deputising for the chair of the EFRA Committee, said they were “looking at every suggestion and taking evidence from anyone who has something to offer”.

He added: “Waste is obscene when we have need on one hand and limited natural resources on the other. It needs to be reduced.”

FoodCycle say they have collected over 1 tonne of reclaimed food from local businesses, turning it into “nutritious three-course meals for people at risk of food poverty and loneliness”. The charity has 27 hubs across the country and a network of over 13,000 volunteers.

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