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Sustain plans industrial food waste campaign

By Rod Addy , 07-Jan-2013

Too much food waste is still going to landfill, Sustain argues
Too much food waste is still going to landfill, Sustain argues

UK charity Sustain aims to launch a campaign later this year designed to boost the amount of food waste being used for animal feed.

Policy director Kath Dalmeny told FoodProductionDaily.com that many EU food processors were still sending huge amounts of food waste, which could be used for animal feed, to landfill.

This was partly because all food waste at risk of animal by-product contamination was banned for use as animal feed. Other reasons included indolence or misunderstanding on the part of manufacturers, said Dalmeny.

“Things like bread can go directly to feed because there is no possibility of animal by-product contamination,” she said.

Treated correctly

Even waste direct from animals and mixed animal and vegetable waste could be used for feed provided it was treated correctly, as it was in Japan, Dalmeny argued.

If pigs and chickens were fed more on food waste, this would reduce their dependence on grain, which is vulnerable to fluctuating prices and was sometimes grown on rainforest land, she added.

In addition, land used to grow grain for animal feed is not being used to produce human food, she said. “The UN is angry with the EU for maintaining the ban on animal waste for animal feed because it’s dealing with the effects internationally: hunger, starvation.”

‘The Pig Idea’

Sustain plans to throw its weight behind an initiative known as ‘The Pig Idea’, masterminded by Tristram Stuart, which argues for increased use of feed waste for animal feed.

Using food waste as animal feed was preferable to sending it to landfill, where it contaminated the land and emitted methane, said Dalmeny.

Sustain’s campaign would have two aims: to encourage more manufacturers to do what was permissible by banishing confusion over animal feed and to extend the current rules and the treatment of waste.

'Very disheartening'

Commenting on recent news of an 11% cut in government support for the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in 2013-2014, Dalmeny said: “The idea of cutting the only programme that made serious inroads into tackling waste is very disheartening.”

However, WRAP itself was philosophical about the cut, claiming it was “not unexpected” and pointing out that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was not its only funder.

WRAP said it was in discussions with DEFRA with a view to hammering out priorities to focus on to make the best use of the cash available to it.

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