THE HOUSE of Lords EU Sub-Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Energy will take evidence from Christine Tacon CBE, The Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) on March 11th.
The GCA was established in in 2013 to enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice. Ms Tacon has recently been given extra powers which will come into force in April allowing her to fine certain large retailers up to 1% of their turn-over.
The session follows-up on the Committee’s 2014 report Counting the cost of food waste which criticised supermarket’s purchasing practices for increasing food waste by cancelling orders from suppliers at the last minute and insisting on stringent aesthetic standards for fresh produce. The report called for more ‘whole-crop’ purchasing arrangements between supermarkets and farmers to reduce the amount of food that is ploughed back into the fields when supermarkets cancel orders.
Areas the Committee will question Ms Tacon on include:
- How optimistic is she about the impact the role can have on the industry?
- Is the new power to fine certain retailers up to 1% of turnover sufficient to ensure supermarkets do not breach the Groceries Supply Code of Practice? In what circumstances would she be likely to use the power?
- The new power to issue fines is not retrospective. To what extent has this frustrated her work to date?
- How will she ensure that food producers in the developing world are aware of her powers and how to complain if they receive poor treatment from retailers?
- How will she use the 40% increase in funding her office is due to receive next year and what are her priorities for the next 12 months.
The following day (12th March) FootprintChannel.tv will be broadcast live from Westminster. Amongst others Baroness Scott, Chair of the House of Lords EU Select Committee Energy, Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries and Dr Richard Swannell, Director of Design and Waste Prevention and WRAP will be participating in a panel debate.