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News from City, University of London

Looking back and looking forward on UK food policy

City’s Professor of Food Policy, Tim Lang, has delivered his final report as Commissioner to the soon to be abolished Sustainability Commission.
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Taking a look at food policy over the last ten years as well as ten years into the future, the report warns all UK governments that food systems need to be made more sustainable. The document calls on regulators to raise their game and speed up the pace and scale of change in light of uncertain oil prices, climate change and public health challenges.

“The challenge of feeding growing populations healthily while minimising environmental damage – particularly as food and fuel prices continue to rise – should remind governments that this is not a time to step away from tackling our food system.

“Obesity and climate change are two huge market failures. Our review of the last decade shows that progress requires the hands-on participation of governments – not a ‘leave it to the market’ approach’,” says Professor Lang.

Some of the recommendations outlined in the report include:

  • Reversing the decline in UK food production, helping expand vegetable crops sustainably and increasing UK fruit production
  • Enabling the meat and dairy industry to reduce its reliance on grain feedstuffs to reduce environmental impacts
  • Working to create local food partnerships to harness local government, health authorities, community groups and local business to meet local sustainability goals
  • Increasing efforts to reduce food waste, planning for zero food waste to landfill by 2015
  • Enhancing the practical food experience taught in schools
  • Taking into account the cost of ensuring a nutritious and sustainable diet when setting minimum wages
  • Mandating health and sustainability standards for all publicly procured food

Sustainability and UK food policy 2000-2011: looking back, looking forward is available to download from

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