Part one of the National Food Strategy, an independent review that will inform government for the next 75 years, has been published this week.
The NFU has fed into the review, with NFU president Minette Batters part of its advisory panel, which gathered views from members to form part of its response to a call for evidence last October.
Part one of the report calls for the adoption of a statutory duty that would give Parliament the opportunity to properly scrutinise any new trade deals.
Led by restaurateur Henry Dimbleby, the report also includes three recommendations to improve the diet of children:
- Expansion of free school meals to every child from a household on Universal Credit;
- Expansion of the Holiday Activity and Food Programme to all areas in England, ensuring summer holiday support is available to all children in receipt of Free School Meals;
- Increasing the value of Healthy Start vouchers to £4.25 per week, and where the parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit, expanding the scheme to pregnant woman and households with children under the age of four.
Mrs Batters said: “The NFU welcomes the publication of the first stage of the National Food Strategy, which urges quick action on health, supporting the young and vulnerable and upholding our food values and standards.
“British farmers and growers stand ready to play their part in helping to ensure everyone in society has access to an enjoyable, sustainable and healthy balanced diet. For example, the nation needs to eat more healthy foods, and we can grow more fruit and vegetables right here in the UK.”
She added: “We welcome the recommendation that future trade deals are subjected to parliamentary scrutiny. The NFU is working with government as part of the newly established Trade and Agriculture Commission to ensure British farming standards are not undermined by any ambition to open up British markets to food which would be illegal to produce here, and that UK farmers can access new markets and become global leaders in climate friendly food.
“We look forward to working with the National Food Strategy team further ahead of part two being published next year.”
Part Two of the strategy is due to be published in 2021 and will include a root and branch examination of the food system and the economics that shape it.