JUST like humans, fruit and vegetables come in all shapes and sizes and this should be embraced, ministers have heard.

Jo Gideon, the Conservative MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, urged the Commons to accept that “perfect” fruit and vegetables are an “artificial construct”, and suggested huge amounts of food waste could be avoided through a more accepting attitude to irregular produce.

As MPs considered food security in the UK and across the world, Ms Gideon said: “Isn’t it time for us to accept the fact that perfect fruit and vegetables is an artificial construct, that we’ve accepted without question for far too long.

“It certainly isn’t beneficial to our health or food security, we waste huge quantities of natural produce that is perfectly good but isn’t up to the exacting standard required by leading supermarkets.

“In recent years we have seen the introduction of a category of wonky fruit and veg, which allows less manicured products to find their way to market.

“Isn’t it time now to welcome the fact that wonky doesn’t have to be a separate range. Just as humans come in all shapes and sizes, so do our carrots and potatoes (which) grow in interesting shapes.”

Elsewhere Conservative MP Neil Hudson (Penrith and The Border) warned global food insecurity could lead to “famine in the developed world”.

He told the Commons: “As we’ve heard Ukraine is the bread-basket of Europe and importance in terms of supply for grains, sunflower, but also fertiliser as well.

“What we have seen through that crisis is a choking of supply out through the Black Sea and the deliberate and cynical decision by Putin to pull Russia out of, then leading to the subsequent collapse of the UN Black Sea grain initiative was the part of that that really chokes off supplies to the rest of the world.

“What we have seen as an unintended consequence, but I’m sure it probably is an intended consequence in terms of Putin, we are seeing that this is leading to food shortages and potential famine in the developing world and we as a country need to be very cognizant of that, so its so important that that Black Sea route really gets back up to speed.”

Mr Hudson also pointed to Houthi rebel attacks in the Rea Sea and its implications for trade, adding: “Security of passage of goods through the world is part of global security and we need to be thinking about the Black Sea, the Red Sea, the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal to make sure that these routes are viable as well.”

Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke (Dover) meanwhile urged the Government to reconsider its cuts to African swine flu checks.

Ms Elphicke said: “The Government has decided to slash the African swine flu funding at the port of Dover and significantly reduce the capability to do checks.

“Now that doesn’t protect our farmers or our food security, that decision puts our country and its farming at risk.”

Environment minister Robbie Moore insisted the Government knows “just how important driving domestic food production is”.

He added: “We produce as has been mentioned around 60%, or just over 60%, of the food that we need, and 73% of the food that we can grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year.

“These figures have changed little over the last 20 years, but it is worth noting that it is the Government’s desire to ensure that our domestic food production is enhanced.”