Army rations destined for the bin could be given to homeless

Sunday Telegraph - 20 May 2018

SURPLUS Army rations could be handed out to feed the homeless, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, ordered "urgent advice" on whether ration packs approaching the end of their shelf life can be handed to charities or good causes.

It follows years of campaigning in Parliament by Frank Field, the Labour MP, for spare rations to be handed to those in need.

Army rations suit the homeless because they are designed for people to eat when they are on the move, or in the open air.

Mr Field said the issue had been raised repeatedly by food banks, because of problems associated with catering for people who cannot cook or store food. He said: "It is brilliant news. For a growing number of homeless men and women it will be an incredibly important initiative to have these food packs which they can heat by tearing open the tops."

Mr Williamson's review is also examining how "non-perishable items" in ration packs can be reused.

Currently the packs are thrown away in line with food safety legislation. More than 12,000 operational ration packs were thrown away between April and December last year.

Mr Williamson said: "We are seeing an increasing number of schemes whereby restaurants and supermarkets donate their unsold stocks and I would like to see more examples of this in the Armed Forces."