The first major review of the UK food system for 75 years has said urgent action is needed to ensure disadvantaged children get the nutrition they need and protect the country's environmental and animal welfare standards.
Overseen by Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of Leon, the first part of the two-part National Food Strategy report contains urgent recommendations to support the UK through the turbulence caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and prepare for the end of the EU exit transition period on 31 December 2020. The second part, due to be published next year, will include a comprehensive plan for transforming the food system.
The report, which can be read here, includes guidelines for school caterers supplying free school meal parcels over the summer, and recommends expanding eligibility for the Free School Meal scheme, increasing the value of Healthy Start vouchers to £4.25 per week, and extending the work of the Food to the Vulnerable Ministerial Task Force for a further 12 months up until July 2021.
Meanwhile, against the backdrop of Britain's exit from the European Union and new trade deals being drawn up, the report also recommends the government only agree to cut tariffs in new trade deals on products which meet certain standards, and verification programmes be established for producers wishing to sell into the UK market. It also urged the government to commission an independent report on any proposed trade agreements.