MPs... welcome to the debate

08 January, 2010

It's good to see the government has finally joined the debate on food. It appears that the various warnings over food security have finally permeated the thick skin of ministers and the response is the first major food policy strategy since the Second World War. In some ways that fact simply highlights the scary lack of interest in food production that the government has shown in the past 60 years. Who would have thought that something so fundamental to our survival could generate such a lack of political interest in the UK.

While they may be late to the party, at least they've finally shown up but is it too little too late? After all, our current government is limping its way towards a general election, so will this new strategy survive beyond May or will it be ditched as surplus to budget in our new cash-strapped era? And if the other lot get in, are they prepared to adopt the policies of a party they are currently bashing over the head at every opportunity?

As for the policy itself while time to digest its contents has been limited, first impressions are that the meat sector could have had it a lot worse. What with all the vegetarian agenda-driven lobbying of late, I was surprised to find that the report wasn't proposing the banning of all red meat consumption. Instead, it suggests evidence-gathering and clear communication are needed to allow consumers to make informed choices over their diet and its relation to the environment and health issues.

Some will say the report doesn't really offer anything new let alone any real solutions to the problems facing us on food production and food security; it hedges on issues such as GM, for example. But perhaps we should simply be grateful that the government is finally showing an interest in the subject albeit 60 years too late.

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