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School Food Trust welcomes Government food strategy

06 January 2010 by
School Food Trust welcomes Government food strategy

The Government's Food 2030 strategy published yesterday by Defra has been welcomed by the School Food Trust (SFT), who praised its emphasis on school meals.

The strategy highlights school lunches within a series of actions aimed at encouraging healthier, more sustainable diets in the next 20 years.

The SFT chief executive Judy Hargadon said the Trust was delighted that the Food 2030 strategy recognised the role school food plays in promoting healthier eating choices to children and tackling obesity.

"We're already seeing some fantastic examples of schools weaving messages about healthier eating right across school life and of schools working to improve the sustainability of school lunches - such as growing their own fruit and vegetables for use in the kitchens, and sourcing more ingredients from the local area," she added. "The challenge for all of us is to continue to grow those efforts in the next 20 years."

The primary focus of the strategy is to ensure food security is as high on the agenda for Britain as energy supply.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Hilary Benn told delegates at the Oxford Farming Conference that more food needs to be produced, sustainably and with the health of the nation in mind.

"We know that the consequences of the way we produce and consume our food are unsustainable to our planet and to ourselves. There are challenges for everyone involved in the food system, from production right through to managing food waste.

"We know we are at one of those moments in our history where the future of our economy, our environment, and our society will be shaped by the choices we make now," he said.

Farming and food businesses contribute more than £80b to the economy and represent the UK's largest manufacturing sector, employing 3.6 million people.

Sue Davies, chief policy adviser at consumer watchdog Which? also welcomed the strategy but called on the Government to ensure delivery of its goals.

"It's great news that we finally have a food strategy for England. But there now has to be much more focus on implementation and tackling the many complexities."

Davies added that immediate priorities that need to be addressed include:

  • setting robust standards for food in public institutions, such as hospitals, as the proposed ‘Healthier food Mark' is too weak
  • providing consistent, simple advice for consumers, in particularly on simplified nutrition labelling and giving advice on how to make more sustainable choices
  • ensuring that people are not misled by health or ‘green' claims on foods
  • enabling consumers to make informed choices about where their food comes from and have a choice over the use of new technologies used in production."

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By Janie Stamford

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