Food strategy criticised by government’s own adviser
Only around half of the government’s food adviser’s suggestions have been implemented, according to him.
The long-awaited proposal to overhaul England’s food system will be unveiled later today, with the government promising to prioritise farmers and food security.
The lack of a salt and sugar tax in the proposals has been criticised.
Environmentalists have accused the administration of backsliding on its ecological goals.
Restauranter The policy statement, according to Henry Dimbleby, the architect of a major assessment of the food system, was not precise enough to be labelled a plan.
Farmers are expected to produce more home-grown food as part of the plans, which will help protect them from future economic shocks.
Mr Johnson announced the plan, saying it outlined “how we would support farmers, encourage British industry, and help shield people from the effects of future economic shocks by ensuring our food security.”
To boost productivity, the report is expected to suggest investing in automated agricultural technologies.
Mr Dimbleby presented some recommendations in the areas of farming, the environment, and health.
He advocated a salt and sugar tax on processed foods, as well as a shift toward more sustainable food production, including the extension of farm payments until at least 2029.
The landmark assessment advised a stronger emphasis on conserving nature and the climate in farming, according to Joan Edwards, head of policy and public relations at conservation charity The Wildlife Trusts, but she fears the government is “watering down” its approach.
Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers’ Union, praised the commitment to food production and security but stressed it hinged on the policies put in place to achieve it.
Many of the recommendations given by the government’s independent adviser on how the food system may be healthier for people and the planet have been “watered down, disregarded, or put off for more consultation,” according to Sue Davies of consumer organisation Which?
Michael Gove, the then-environment secretary, commissioned the independent National Food Strategy in 2019 and it has produced two reports.