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Campaigners call for food supply chains to be audited

24 May 2013

Campaigners have called for the food industry to regularly audit its supply chains to reduce the amount of waste food. 

The ‘This is Rubbish’ (TiR) group claims that householders are being unfairly blamed for the UK’s waste, when the food industry generates more than half of the 18 to 20million tonnes of waste every year. According to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, the amount of food wasted worldwide each year equates to around 2billion tonnes – half of all the food that is produced.
TiR's report, ‘Counting What Matters’, raised concerns about logistics and who would bear the cost, while food industry experts and insiders interviewed by the authors mostly cited increased efficiency as the benefit of such audits.

TiR co-director Caitlin Shepherd said: "We know the food industry has a big problem with waste, one that comes with significant environmental, social and economic costs. Despite this, food waste is not widely monitored or reported even among large businesses, meaning the problem stays largely hidden."

In the UK, the voluntary Courtauld Commitment and Hospitality and Food Service Agreement require signatories to report waste data annually. It is held in confidence by the government's waste advisory body, Wrap, and aggregated to provide an assessment of how the sector is performing against agreed targets.

British Retail Consortium director of food and sustainability, Andrew Opie, added: "Retailers already audit the food waste they're responsible for. They rely on the independent resource efficiency body WRAP to coordinate industry wide food waste reduction figures. Let's not distract from what will win us the greatest gains. That is getting consumers to think harder about what they waste."

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