Mixed reaction to government’s new food strategy

There has been a mixed reaction to this week’s publication of the government’s food strategy from farmers and producers.

By Nick Rennie
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 2:40 pm
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Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) said: “The National Food Strategy represents a clear milestone with the government recognising the importance of domestic food production, maintaining our productive capacity and growing more food in this country, particularly at a time when the war in Ukraine has focused attention on the importance and fragility of our global food security.

“Domestic food production and environmental delivery go hand-in-hand and we are proud that British farmers have an ambition to reach net zero by 2040, while still maintaining our current levels of food production.

“We know the public want to be eating more local, British food and farmers are ready to play their part in producing high quality and climate-friendly food, all while protecting and enhancing our environment. We now need to see this strategy develop into clear delivery and investment to capitalise on the benefits food and farming delivers for the country, such as our world-leading standards of animal welfare, environmental protection and food safety.”

But the UK Protected Food Names Association, which represents the interests of iconic brands such as Melton pork pie and Stilton cheese, called the document ‘disappointing’.

The organisation feels more reference should have been made to the importance of Protected Food Names or Geographical Indications, which account for around 25 per cent of the UK’s total food and drink exports.

Referring to the strategy, which focuses on food in England, chair Matthew O’Callaghan, who also organises Melton’s foodie events, told the Melton Times: “There’s a bit in it on helping the pork supply chain which might help our local pork pie producers when it says ‘We will shortly consult on the need for similar action in the pig sector and have already begun engagement to identify key issues in the pork supply chain.’

“And fortunately there is no mention of a ‘fat tax’ or further measures on salt which could have had an averse effect on our local Stilton Cheesemakers.

"The strategy could have done a lot more.”