The UK's New Food Policy May Come At A Cost

The UK government has just announced its revamped approach to food issues — but critics are saying that the new strategy ignores pressing health and climate concerns, reported Bloomberg.

According to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, the UK government is aiming to combat supply shortages and rising food costs — caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the pandemic, and other factors — by investing in domestic farmers. Theoretically, doing so will tackle food insecurity and help the country build a more resilient economic future. Explained UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, per the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs' announcement, "Harnessing new technologies and innovation, we will grow and eat more of our own food – unlocking jobs across the country and growing the economy, which in turn will ultimately help to reduce pressure on prices."

While the food-security-focused plan may sound promising, some have taken issue with its singular vision, which reportedly disregards climate change and similarly-pressing issues.

Why critics aren't supporting the UK's new food and farming policy

According to Bloomberg, the updated UK food strategy consists of £270 million ($332 million) invested over the next several years, until 2029. The money will go towards increasing the country's farming output and reducing food insecurity. However, while it does aim to address food costs, the plan ignores measures proposed to improve the quality of people's diets, health, and livelihoods — especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic — by taxing salt and sugar or expanding free school meal programs.

Per the news outlet, the plan also ignores calls to limit meat consumption in the UK — an aspect of food policy tied to urgent issues like climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. "What's been published today is a collection of half-measures that is wholly inadequate for the challenges that we face," said Rob Percival, head of food policy at the Soil Association. "It's hard to see how this strategy coheres with the UK's climate goals."