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Charity warns on forcing supermarkets to donate food

Volunteers are among the workers who distribute food to the needy

A charity in Southampton is doing its bit to feed the hungry and avoid food waste. Supermarkets donate surplus food to organisations such as Fareshare and Scratch, which then distribute the produce to those who need to be fed.

The issue is much on the agenda after the French government passed a law last week, forcing the supermarkets in France to give any extra food they had to charity.

FareShare say their work tackles the imbalance between food waste and poverty with the co-operation of their donors, but they say the French-style legislation could be counter-productive if a similar law were to be passed here in the UK. Andrew Pate has our report.

Easter chocolate warning for pet owners

Chocolate at a market stall Credit: Press Association

Pet owners are being advised about the dangers of chocolate this Easter, as vets warn it is the culprit responsible for the greatest number of poisonings in dogs in the UK.

According to figures, Easter is the second busiest time of the year for chocolate related health problems for dogs after Christmas.

Experienced veterinary surgeon Dr Huw Stacey, Head of Clinical Services at Vets4Pets, says a few preparations before the Easter Egg hunts start at home can prevent pet misery.

“Easter is a time when vets often see a significant increase in the number of cases of pets, particularly dogs, being poisoned by eating chocolate,” said Huw.

“At Vets4Pets we’re noticing a continual increase in the awareness of the dangers of chocolate to our pets, but it’s important we continue spreading the message."

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Could this be the world's most expensive pasty?

Chef Richard Shaw's rather pricy pasty

A chef from Hampshire has created one of the world's most expensive cornish pasties - costing a mouth-watering £230.

Richard Shaw from Southwick said he hopes his VIP - very important pasty - will win at the '2015 World Pasty Championships' at the Eden Project in Cornwall this weekend.

His recipe contains Wagyu beef from Japan, black pepper from India and potatoes from the United States of America.

The cafe where you decide how much to pay!

Now, imagine a cafe where YOU decide how much to pay for your cup of tea or sandwich. It seems too good to be true, but in a cafe in Banbury that's exactly what you do.

The owner says she's relying on customers to do the right thing by making a suitable donation in a box next to the non-existent till. But will the idea of paying what you want catch on? Cary Johnston went to find out.

Is Winchester becoming the food capital of the South?

First Jamie Oliver (although he's now left), then Raymond Blanc - it seems Winchester is the place to be for celebrity restaurants.

Now chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has been in the city to open a new River Cottage Canteen.

It is the latest in a line of new eateries. Soon, Rick Stein is also moving in, making Winchester one of the food capitals of the South. Juliette Fletcher has more:

Health warning after 84 people fall ill from mushroom poisoning

Mushrooms can provide rich pickings - at a cost Credit: Meridian

People setting out for autumnal countryside walks have been urged to take care if they are planning to forage for mushrooms after dozens of people fell ill from poisoning. The New Forest is one of the main areas for mushroom pickers.

Public Health England (PHE) said 84 cases of mushroom poisoning have been reported so far this year and the foraging season is only just under way. Last year, PHE's National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) recorded 237 cases of poisoning across the UK, with many involving children under the age of 10.

The health body warned that some varieties that grow wild in the UK can cause serious illness, with some even being fatal.

The dangers of foraging for mushrooms were highlighted in 2008 when the author of best-selling book The Horse Whisperer was taken to hospital. Nicholas Evans and three family members had to be put on kidney dialysis after eating toxic mushrooms they had gathered on a woodland walk.

"As the weather starts to change many people will soon be heading out to the countryside to seek out wild food which can be a really fun thing to do," said Dr John Thompson, director of the NPIS. "But when it comes to wild mushrooms people really need to be aware of the very real potential dangers involved."

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Hampshire village will be transformed this weekend

Local traders are all set for the food festival on Sunday Credit: Wickham Food Festival

A group of eager volunteers is gearing up for the first ever Taste of Wickham festival to be held in Wickham’s famous medieval square on Sunday 14 September from 10am-4pm.

Local produce, barbecues, tasters and cookery demonstrations are all on the menu.

The Square will be closed to traffic from 6am to 6pm on the day with a special park and ride service operating from Westlands Farm from the start of the event at 10am.

A helping hand from the National Lottery Credit: Wickham Food Festival

Visitors will be able to enjoy music and shopping as well as food and drink, and entertainment for children.

Led by Winchester City Council’s Market Towns Development Officer, the group first met back in January to discuss the idea of holding a food festival. Several meetings later, and the event turned into a celebration of everything that is great about Wickham, not just the food.

  1. Sarah Saunders @SSaundersITV

Growth of farmers' markets in Kent as consumers choose local

Farmers Markets are booming, as ever more families re-discover the alternative to supermarket shopping. The Kent Farmers Market Association says 6 new markets open up in the county every year, many of them run by community groups.

In Whitstable Sarah Saunders spoke to the farmers' market founder Becky Richards, stallholders Toby Schwenn and Cath Blanfield and shoppers.

Pizza containing cling film nearly chokes children

A takeaway in Reading has been fined after two young children choked on cling film found in their pizza.

The 12" chicken and sweetcorn pizza had cling film embedded in the fast food that was then eaten by the purchaser's children.

The cling film was embedded in the 12" pizza Credit: Reading Borough Council

The owners of Star Takeaway pleaded guilty to four offences under the Food Safety Act 1990 and have been fined over £4000.

They have also been ordered to pay another £5000 in costs.

Reading Borough Council's Environmental Health department visited the premises after the purchaser of the cling film pizza complained.

They found that staff were untrained in food hygiene principles, there were no food safety management systems in place and lettuce was at risk of contamination due to raw chicken defrosting nearby.

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