'Pavement picnic' protest over Trading Standards investigation into Leeds food charity

RJFP co-director Adam Smith.
RJFP co-director Adam Smith.

A "pavement picnic" was due to go ahead this morning in a protest over a Trading Standards investigation into a Leeds food charity.

Adam Smith, the co-director of the Real Junk Food Project is attending an interview under caution at the offices of West Yorkshire Trading Standards (WYTS) in Nepshaw Lane South, Morley, from 10am.

The Real Junk Food Project (RJFP) uses surplus produce which would go to waste to provide meals for people who can pay as much as they like or nothing. Volunteer chefs judge the quality of the food based on its smell, taste and touch. It uses food which would be thrown away or go to landfill, donated by supermarkets.

Mr Smith was told in a letter from WYTS that “offences may have been committed” under food safety and hygiene regulations. It reads that officers found 444 items which were a cumulative 6,345 past the use-by date at a warehouse in Stanningley.

Members of the charity said: "A petition has been created to to discuss expiry dates including both Best Before & UB, and a Go-Fund-Me campaign has been kindly produced by the public in support of our efforts.

"We're organising a peaceful pavement picnic, bring your own food (preferably past it's expiry date), and join our campaign against the atrocious amounts of perfectly edible food that is wasted globally every single day."

Volunteers at the charity yesterday branded the investigation "laughable" because they said the project does not "trade".

A WYTS spokesperson said that the charity’s proprietor will be able to put forward information as part of that investigation process.

“That will help inform the decision on what, if any, action will be taken," he said.

He added that the supply of food marked with a use-by date after the date marked on the pack is an offence. But it is not an offence to supply foods marked with a best before date beyond what is on the pack.

Proactis has published a trading update

Proactis achieves ‘substantial’ strategic progress