I have been contacted by constituents regarding the Food Waste (Reduction) Bill which was due to have its Second Reading on 29 January. This has now been rearranged for 4 March.

Preventing food waste at all stages in the supply chain is an objective the Government is working on, together with the Waste & Resources Action Programme, food retailers and industry. I am pleased that Parliament had the opportunity to discuss the issue in a Westminster Hall debate and the Environment Minister's response can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/z523f4m

Ministers have backed several rounds of the Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement to limit waste, which 90 per cent of the food manufacturing and retailer sector have signed up to. As a result, domestic household food waste has already been reduced by 21 per cent, and food waste in the supply chain has reduced by 8 per cent. The process has also seen the amount of redistributed surplus food double between 2011 and 2013.

Separately, a voluntary agreement within the hospitality and food services industry was launched in 2012. Over 170 signatories and supporters have signed up to an ambitious set of targets both to reduce the amount of food waste they produce, and to manage it better by recycling and sending food for anaerobic digestion to produce energy.

Government also continues to work closely with industry to help them forge closer links with redistribution charities across the whole supply chain. It is wrong that anyone should go hungry at the same time as surplus food is going to waste.

Ministers and charities have been considering too how to reduce food waste on farms. One option is to encourage retailers to agree in advance to purchase the whole crop from a specific farm or field, and then decide, based on their size and appearance, whether each vegetable should be sold loose, processed or used in soups and sauces. This is something that should be explored further, not only helping prevent waste but providing farmers with greater certainty.

I hope that you find the Government's actions to reduce food waste reassuring.