Call for evidence launched for future food systems

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers is launching a call for evidence to provide consumers and producers with an an opportunity to shape how we produce, sell and consume food in the UK.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs says that British shoppers will be able to buy environmentally friendly, healthy and affordable food under the plans for a radical shake-up of the UK’s food industry.

The collated views will inform the first major review of the nation’s food system in nearly 75 years, led by entrepreneur Henry Dimbleby, to ensure the food industry is fit for the future, supports growth, enhances the environment and is resilient to the challenges posed by climate change.

As such, the government will look at what is working well already and the role of new technology to revolutionise our food supply – from innovations like vertical farming and robotics, to carbon neutral manufacturing and crops that tackle climate change. The findings will also help to inform the government’s trailblazing new National Food Strategy, published next year.

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.”

Sue Hayman, Labour’s Shadow Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary, responded: “The government has dragged its feet over this review, it has been seven months since Michael Gove first announced it.

“We need a long-term food and farming strategy to keep healthy, nutritious food on the shelves and rise to the challenge of the climate and environment emergency. But with this government taking us towards a No Deal Brexit it can’t even be trusted to guarantee our food security up to the end of the year. Labour will deliver the radical transformation needed to tackle the climate and environmental emergency facing us.”