food system (3)

Government food strategy published

10565937089?profile=RESIZE_710xThe UK government has today published its food strategy.

This food strategy sets out government ambitions and priorities to deliver the following objectives:

  1. a prosperous agri-food and seafood sector that ensures a secure food supply in an unpredictable world and contributes to the levelling up agenda through good quality jobs around the country.
  2. a sustainable, nature positive, affordable food system that provides choice and access to high quality products that support healthier and home-grown diets for all.
  3. trade that provides export opportunities and consumer choice through imports, without compromising our regulatory standards for food, whether produced domestically or imported.

To achieve these objectives government will seek to:

  • broadly maintain the current level of food we produce domestically, including sustainably boosting production in sectors where there are post-Brexit opportunities including horticulture and seafood.
  • ensure that by 2030, pay, employment and productivity, as well as completion of high-quality skills training will have risen in the agri-food industry in every area of the UK, to support our production and levelling up objectives.
  • halve childhood obesity by 2030, reducing the healthy life expectancy (HLE) gap between local areas where it is highest and lowest by 2030, adding 5 years to HLE by 2035 and reducing the proportion of the population living with diet-related illnesses; and to support this, increasing the proportion of healthier food sold.
  • reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the environmental impacts of the food system, in line with our net zero commitments and biodiversity targets and preparing for the risks from a changing climate.
  • contribute to our export strategy goal to reach £1 trillion of exports annually by 2030 and supporting more UK food and drink businesses, particularly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), to take advantage of new market access and free trade agreements (FTAs) post-Brexit
  • maintain high standards for food consumed in the UK, wherever it is produced.


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9388938677?profile=RESIZE_584xPurpose of assessment
This assessment is intended to support the FSA in understanding changes in the food system related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as they relate to the FSA mission. It is limited in scope to understanding the implications for the work of the FSA and so does not consider the wider societal impacts. It builds on key findings from existing research and analysis undertaken throughout the period of the pandemic.

Key Judgements
1. Behaviour changes brought about by COVID-19 restrictions and health practices are likely to have led to a temporary drop in the incidence of some food borne diseases (para 1).
2. The adoption of an increasing range of online platforms by consumers and food businesses during the pandemic will almost certainly remain and present challenges to food regulation and its enforcement (paras 2-4).
3. It is highly likely that people’s lives when it comes to food have become increasingly varied and will continue to present a more diverse risk environment for the FSA to deal with after the pandemic. This is particularly driven by the longterm trend towards increasing food insecurity (exacerbated by COVID-19) and the underlying economic divergence (paras 5-12).
4. There is almost certainly an increased appetite for government intervention to ensure food safety and availability. This is not universal, but experiences during the pandemic are likely to have shifted public attitudes, presenting an opportunity for interventions (paras 13-14).
5. Although there is likely to be increased vulnerability to food crime in some consumer groups due to COVID-19 related changes, there is very little evidence of this being exploited (paras 15-17).
6. The response to the pandemic forced a reconfiguration of FSA activities, leading to changes in working practices, and a renewed focus on intelligence and risk led activities (paras 18-21).

Read full board paper.

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7858071264?profile=RESIZE_400xThe recently published "Fixing the Future of Food" report, carried out by Veris Strategies, found that 78% of industry leaders (from companies like Nestle, Greencore, World Resources Institute and more) felt that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed serious weaknesses in the UK food system. Further, 96% of those leaders felt that the UK was not prepared to deal with the long term effects of the pandemic.

The report also polled consumers and found that 90% of consumers believed the pandemic would lead to more sustainable and ethical food systems. 

Read the story on the report from Food & Drink International Magazine here, or download the full report here.

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