National Food Strategy: call for evidence in review of UK food sector

national food strategy
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The UK government has launched a call for evidence to inform a major review of the food industry, preceding the creation of a National Food Strategy.

The review, to be overseen by entrepreneur and co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain Henry Dimbleby, will welcome input from consumers; farmers and food producers; academics and researchers, will be the first major review of the UK’s food systems and supply chain in nearly 75 years. The evidence gathered for the review will go towards informing the implementation of the National Food Strategy, aimed at ensuring the food and drinks sector is fit for purpose and capable of meeting future challenges.

Dimbleby said: “We’re launching the call for evidence today to gather insights and inspiration to help transform our food system. These could be policies or ideas that make it easier for us to make more informed decisions about the food we eat; that make food production more environmentally sustainable; that help food businesses and communities to thrive; or that could put our country at the forefront of innovation in the coming years. Whether you are someone who works in a food business, a farmer, a food processor, an interested citizen – whoever you are – we want to hear from you. We can’t wait to read your submissions and hear about your ideas.”

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “As well as keeping us alive and healthy, food plays a central role in our culture and our national life. The threats from climate change, loss of biodiversity and the need to deliver safe and affordable food gives rise to new challenges we must address. As we leave the EU and seek to capitalise on the opportunities this can provide for the UK’s farmers and food producers, we have the chance to reshape our food system from farm to fork to ensure it is ready to deal with these 21st century pressures; so I am delighted to launch this call for evidence to build on the excellent work Henry Dimbleby has already done on this important review. We should not underplay the importance of the food we eat for our environment, our health and our society, and I encourage people to share their views on the way ahead.”

The review of evidence and development of a National Food Strategy will be led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), with input from the UK’s Food and Drink Sector Council. The strategy is set to be published in early 2020.

Great British Bake Off star Prue Leith CBE, restaurateur, food writer, cookery campaigner and broadcaster, said: “For too long we have tinkered with food and food education. But we really need to grasp the nettle and do something radical. The National Food Strategy is an opportunity not to be missed, for our generation and for our children and grandchildren. Through this strategy we have the opportunity to improve the nation’s health and embrace sustainability and I urge everyone to engage with it.”

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