UK to institute new National Food Strategy as food systems review kicks off

UK – The UK government has launched a call for evidence to inform a major review of the food industry as its readies to set up a new National Food Strategy (NFS).

The views will inform the first major review in the UK food system in almost 75 years and seeks to ensure that the food industry is well positioned for the future in terms of how food is produced, sold and consumed.

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The government said that the review will examine the current regulations and status of the food industry and how technology is revolutionizing food supply, from vertical farming and robotics to carbon-neutral manufacturing and crops that tackle climate change.

“The purpose of this call for evidence is to gather inspiration to help us transform our food system. We want to hear from anyone who has a good idea,” ​noted the government in a consultation brief.

Among the goals that the new national food strategy seeks to attain include; increasing accessibility and affordability of high-quality food; supporting growth; enhancing the environment and being resilient to climate change challenges.

UK Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs highlighted that the system also seeks to promote the highest standards of animal health and welfare and put England at the forefront of innovation and reshape our food system in the coming years.

The consultation comes two months after the department for environment food & rural affairs (Defra) announced Henry Dimbleby would conduct an independent review to help develop the national strategy.

“We’re launching the call for evidence today to gather insights and inspiration to help transform our food system,”​ said Dimbleby.

“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.”​

The review will last a year, with the deadline for the call for evidence being October 25, 2019, after which the final report of the review will be published and made public next summer.

The National Food Strategy is intended to be an overarching plan of action for government, designed to ensure the food system delivers safe, healthy, affordable food, regardless of where people live or how much they earn.

It will also ensure that the food system is robust in the face of future shocks; restore and enhance the natural environment for the next generation in the country; as well as build a resilient, sustainable and human agriculture sector.

In addition, NFS will ensure the system is a thriving contributor to the urban and rural economies, delivering well paid jobs and supporting innovative producers and manufacturers across the country in an efficient and cost-effective way.

Environment secretary Theresa Villiers said she welcomed the call for evidence as threats from climate change and biodiversity give rise to new challenges in the food system.

“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,”​ she said.

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