Meat should be rare treat, say MPs
Businesses must be penalised for wasting food and consumers should buy meat only as an occasional treat to help protect future food supplies and keep prices down, a committee has recommended.
MPs warned that the UK is "never more than a few days away" from a significant food shortage and called on ministers to act to improve food security.
The International Development Committee urged the Government to redouble its efforts to cut the huge amount of discarded produce - estimated to be around 30% globally.
In its Global Food Security report, the committee also called on the UK to investigate whether nations should use domestic stockpiles of food to protect themselves from price spikes in the future.
Although the practice is costly, the increasing volatility of food prices means "there may be a case for judicious use of stocks to relieve the tightness of markets", it said.
Ministers should set producers and retailers targets for food waste reduction, with sanctions imposed if they are not met.
The Government should also push ahead with previous proposals to persuade households to cut the amount they throw out and promote schemes that redistribute unwanted food.
Increases in global meat consumption are unsustainable and, longer term, the focus should be on pasture-fed, rather than on grain-fed, livestock with meat promoted as a occasional product rather than an everyday staple, the committee said.
The moves should be part of a wider strategy to improve food security, including help through the Department for International Development (DfID) with the creation of farmer organisations, such as co-operatives, in developing countries and aid targeted at increasing smallholder production in such nations.
MPs also suggest that some biofuels, which can be produced by the fermentation of some crops or by using fats, are having a significant impact on food security by driving higher and more volatile food prices and, in some cases, may be even more damaging to the environment than fossil fuels.