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Food shortages: grow more, waste less

[Monday 10 August 2009]

THE environment and food department Defra will today (Monday) launch a campaign to shield the UK from growing worldwide food shortages. The advice: buy local, grow more and waste less.

Britain grows just 61% of its own food, meaning that the rest is sometimes imported over huge distances. Even more worryingly, Defra estimated that we throw away almost seven million tonnes of food worth some £10 billion each year.

Defra secretary Hilary Benn will ask people to waste less, buy more seasonal British food, and to grow more.

Controversially, he is also suggesting that people ignore “Best Before” labels on supermarket food and judge for themselves if food is fit to eat. However “Use By” labels should be adhered to for safety reasons.

Finally, people will be urged to grow more of their own produce but this raises other problems: another report issued at the weekend says that there is a record waiting list of 80,000 people wanting allotments – and in some areas, the wait can vary between 25 and 40 years!

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