A leaked version of the government’s new food strategy advises people to eat wild game as a low-carbon alternative to beef and grow their own cucumbers to save the planet, according to reports.
The 27-page document, which is due to be officially released on Monday, follows two reports by the co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, Henry Dimbleby, on the UK food system.
Its inquiries into obesity and the environment, commissioned by former environment minister Michael Gove, resulted in recommendations to expand free school meals, impose a long salt and sugar tax campaign and to introduce GP prescriptions for fruit and vegetables.
But according to a version of the strategy, seen by The Guardian and The Telegraph, these proposals were ignored in favor of a “vague statement of intentions” – said Rob Percival, head of food policy at the Soil Association.
These include encouraging fish farming, long considered highly damaging to the environment, increasing the consumption of “responsibly sourced venison”, seaweed protein foods and producing technologies to help livestock produce less methane.
Mandatory vegan meal options in schools, prisons and in the public sector also feature alongside animal welfare warnings on restaurant menus – if locals use factory-farmed meat.
As a cost of living crisis grips the UK, with recent ONS data Revealing that most Britons are reducing their intake of food and other essentials, the government says the cost of food ‘is not the business of the government’s food strategy’.
There are also no recommendations for state interventions on obesity, despite 64% of UK adults and 40% of children being overweight.
According to reports, the strategy document states, “Government can set clear direction for industry and ensure consumers have the information to make better food choices.
“Government should also engage industry to reformulate and promote healthier and more accessible foods, and design and implement policy actions that drive improvements in the food environment.”
Jim McMahon, Labor’s Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, replied: “The UK is in a cost of living crisis with soaring food prices, a falling real wages, falling growth and rising taxes.
“It is clear now that the government has absolutely no ambition to fix the mess it has created.
“A food strategy is vitally important, but the government has dithered, delayed and now failed to deliver.
“It is nothing more than a vague statement of intentions, not concrete proposals to tackle the main problems facing our country. To call it a “food strategy” is bordering on absurd. .”
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) declined to comment on the leaked document.
“We will present the content of our ambitious new food strategy in due course,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
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