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Joined-up action urged over healthy food promotion

Government and retailers must do more to help consumers choose healthy food from sustainable sources, and waste less say MPs.

In a new report,  Food security: demand, consumption and waste,  published by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, MPs maintain that the food industry and retailers should help consumers to buy food from sustainable sources through providing clearer and more informative information. 

With the UK facing a health crisis linked to poor nutrition MPs recommend that retailers and the food industry also provide better consumer information to help people choose healthier diets. Children and adults are eating 50% more saturated fat and children eat 50% more sugar than recommended levels.

Committee Chair, Anne McIntosh MP said: “Despite efforts to promote healthy eating, the UK is still experiencing high levels of health problems linked to poor diet, in particular over consumption. We need joined-up action across government and by local government and retailers to promote healthy food choices, which will deliver national economic and social benefits as well as improving individuals’ health.”

The report calls on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to lead a joined-up national approach that saves and redistributes surplus food from all parts of the supply chain. A Food Security Co-ordinator role should be created, it believes, one of whose key roles would be to bring together key agencies to develop effective systems to distribute far greater volumes of food that would otherwise go to waste.

The report also recommends that Defra commission further research into the scale of ‘food insecurity’ in Britain to plug a data gap and calls on local councils, working closely with retailers, to use the planning system to promote healthy communities through the location of food stores that enable all to buy healthy food locally at affordable prices.

Pic credit: © Budda | - Healthy Eating Photo

Defra | UK & NI Ireland | Healthcare

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