Good start say charities
Charities have welcomed the UK’s national food strategy which has just been published.
The report aims to ensure a food system that is healthy, affordable, sustainable, resilient, and productive.
It was commissioned by the government in 2019.
Author of the first report of the strategy, food entrepreneur Henry Dimbleby, said the UK had a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to decide what kind of trading nation it wanted to be when the transition period ends.
"We should use that freedom to decide that we want to uphold standards," he said.
"And the government should be confident of scrutiny on the trade deals that it is doing."
Trade deals should not only increase wealth but restore the environment and protect animal welfare, he added.
Katie White, executive director of advocacy and campaigns at WWF-UK, said: "It’s encouraging that this interim strategy looks not just at the direct impacts of food on our health, but also the links between what we eat and climate change, nature, disease and how we use the world’s resources.
“The understanding that human health and the health of the planet are fundamentally linked is a critically important step forward.
“We welcome this interim report and its goal to address the urgent need to bolster the dietary health of our children and most vulnerable and to ensure an approach to trade that allows the UK to assert its sovereignty and protect our high food production standards from being undermined, with trade deals that are subject to independent assessment and parliamentary scrutiny."
The 110-page report calls for the adoption of a statutory duty that would give Parliament the opportunity to properly scrutinise any new trade deals.
And it urges the government to press on with its Environmental Land Management Scheme, which would pay English farmers £2.4bn a year to improve the countryside, such as by capturing carbon or increasing biodiversity.
"Be bolder. Go faster," the report said.
The second part of the National Food Strategy, due to be published in 2021, will examine issues such as climate change, biodiversity, pollution and zoonotic disease.