A Labour MP has called for supermarkets and restaurants to donate food they are unable to sell to charity.
Kerry McCarthy said the public was "shocked" by the "absolutely scandalous" waste of food in the UK, adding that 50% of food produced in the European Union goes uneaten.
She told MPs on 14 March 2012 that increasing poverty meant many people were turning to food banks, and that an estimated 500,000 people will rely on food donations by 2015.
The Bristol East MP said retailers, including the Houses of Parliament catering department, should be looking at signing up to a charter to donate left-overs to charities.
Businesses should also be protected from civil and criminal liability if they pass on unwanted products, she added.
Ms McCarthy also argued that food not fit for human consumption should be given to farmers for livestock feed - but this was opposed by Conservative MP Anne Main.
Mrs Main said she supported the broad thrust of the bill but wanted the wording in the area to be "tweaked" for fear that inappropriate food fed to animals could lead to a recurrence of the CJD outbreak.
She did not want to force a vote on the matter, and the bill passed second reading unopposed.
It is unlikely to make further progress however, due to lack of parliamentary time.