‘Half-baked’ Government food strategy attacked for absence of salt and sugar tax

(Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)

A leaked draft of the Government’s meals strategy for England has been branded “half-baked” and “flatter than a pancake”, with particular worry more than the clear rejection of a proposal for tax on sugar and salt.

Ministers were accused of concocting a blueprint “bordering on the preposterous”, with the document suggesting they will shun essential recommendations from a key critique of the foods method by Leon cafe co-founder Henry Dimbleby.

Campaigners also hit out at factors of the program “goading” farmers into developing extra meat.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove declared in 2019 that Mr Dimbleby was to guide a evaluate into England’s foods program to be certain it is “safe, wholesome and affordable” for all.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove announced in 2019 that Leon restaurant co-founder Henry Dimbleby was to lead a review into England’s food system (Oli Scarff/PA) (PA Wire)

Cabinet minister Michael Gove declared in 2019 that Leon cafe co-founder Henry Dimbleby was to lead a critique into England’s foodstuff technique (Oli Scarff/PA) (PA Wire)

The evaluation also aimed to examine how the food items technique could assistance restore and enrich the pure environment, create a resilient and sustainable agriculture sector and contribute to city and rural economies.

In his final report, published in 2021, Mr Dimbleby named for a sugar and salt reformulation tax as a important section of initiatives to renovate the nation’s diet program.

This appeared to have been snubbed by ministers in a leaked draft of the Government’s food approach White Paper, ahead of its expected publication on Monday.

The doc, published in total by The Guardian on Friday, mentioned “individual obligation and choice” is crucial when it comes to consuming healthily, and marketplace “also has a position to play”.

It stated there is a “crucial function for Authorities to make focused regulatory interventions to assist change”.

But there was no assure of a new £3/kg tax on sugar and £6/kg tax on salt marketed for use in processed food items or in restaurants and catering companies, as recommended by Mr Dimbleby.

This is nothing at all extra than a statement of vague intentions, not the concrete proposals to deal with the major challenges struggling with our nation. To call it a ‘food strategy’ is bordering on the preposterous

Jim McMahon

Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of Motion on Sugar and Motion on Salt, stated the leaked doc built it “abundantly clear” the Govt was “in the pocket of the food stuff industry” and experienced “no drive to bite the hand that feeds it”.

In his report, Mr Dimbleby also termed on ministers to make sure the finances for payments for farmers to deliver environmental benefits – these types of as restoring mother nature, avoiding floods and improving soils – was guaranteed until at the very least 2029.

But this appeared to have been ignored in the draft White Paper, with the Authorities rather repeating a pledge to keep funding levels in the course of the present parliament.

Labour criticised the leaked doc as “nothing a lot more than a assertion of vague intentions”.

Jim McMahon, shadow secretary of point out for atmosphere, foods and rural affairs, stated: “A food items technique is of critical relevance, but the Federal government has dithered, delayed and now failed to produce.

“This is very little more than a assertion of obscure intentions, not the concrete proposals to deal with the key issues experiencing our region. To contact it a ‘food strategy’ is bordering on the preposterous.”

Rob Percival, head of food policy at the Soil Affiliation, claimed the plan felt like “thin gruel”.

“I think that it’s actually negligent, the diploma to which it’s failed to stick to as a result of on the foodstuff technique suggestions,” he informed BBC Radio 4’s Nowadays programme.

“People are battling to try to eat. We have these great problems in relation to the local climate crisis, the geopolitical shocks to the food program, and this is not up to scratch, this document.”

The draft White Paper said the Federal government recognized “much of the analysis” and “the bulk of recommendations” from the Dimbleby review, with plan initiatives to strengthen overall health, sustainability and accessibility of eating plans, and to safe food supply.

Ministers show up to be going ahead with some of Mr Dimbleby’s proposals, including by consulting on necessary foodstuff waste reporting for businesses of a specific dimensions.

The Federal government has also agreed to trial a Community Eatwell programme, as introduced in the Levelling Up White Paper, supporting individuals on low incomes to boost their meal plans.

The Government’s meals approach is not just 50 percent-baked, it’s flatter than a pancake and lacking most of the essential components wanted to certainly guarantee our very long-phrase foodstuff safety

Louisa Casson

The document said ministers would “support development on a broad assortment of challenges, such as alternate proteins”, following the assessment urged the Government to “nudge” shoppers into changing their meat-having patterns.

But it suggested sustainable sources of protein do not have to “displace standard sectors”, pointing to “regenerative farming”, with livestock employed to “benefit the setting in balance with food production”.

The paper explained the Government would start a get in touch with for proof to far better recognize troubles in cutting methane emissions from farm animals these types of as cattle.

It added it would purpose to maximize the use of responsibly sourced wild venison – which would have usually been disposed of – in the food chain, and instructed seafood is “another perhaps lower-carbon and healthy source of protein which can grow to fulfil its opportunity within just the food sector”.

In his assessment, Mr Dimbleby had established a objective of reducing meat use by 30% about 10 a long time.

Louisa Casson, head of foods and forests at Greenpeace United kingdom, accused ministers of seemingly “goading” British isles farmers into producing a lot more meat.

“The Government’s food items method is not just fifty percent-baked, it is flatter than a pancake and missing most of the critical components wanted to certainly ensure our extended-expression meals protection,” she stated.

“Instead of listening to the warnings from local weather researchers on the urgent need to lessen meat production, ministers look to be goading British isles farmers into developing even much more of it.”

The Department for Environment, Meals and Rural Affairs stated it did not remark on leaked files, but a spokesperson additional: “We will be location out the contents of our formidable new meals strategy in owing study course.”