Articles - UK Government Issues

Sustainable Food, Health and Climate Change

Published on 10 December 2009, the UK Government's Sustainable Development Commission report "Setting the Table" is already producing a flurry of comment at the Guardian online page

Eat less meat and dairy: official recipe to help health of consumers - and the planet

Basic messages about healthy eating have been understood and promoted for many years.
However, understanding about how such advice fits with evidence of the environmental and other sustainability impacts of our diets, for example on climate change, is less clear.
Developing a better understanding of a sustainable diet is essential for government to
achieve its objective of 'a sustainable, secure and healthy food supply'. Not only would this provide more coherent messages to consumers, but it would also help clarify what is required of the supply chain.
(Sustainable Development Commission)

To download the whole report, click here (PDF 333 KB)

Chair's Comment on the article

UK Government goals condemned as shallow

UK: Government sets out goals for a sustainable food industry. Efforts  condemned as shallow by the McCarrison Society.
Mrs Beckett said: "As an industry the food sector has a significant role to play in achieving a sustainable future for this country.
Nothing about achieving sustainable health and nutrition! The Government  claims a higher GDP, better economy yet the inequality of health is worse  than in 1973 when the incidence of low birthweight was 6.6%. According  to the 2005 UNICEF report, it is now 8%.
  • Low birthweight is the strongest, single predictor of cerebral  palsy, cognitive and or behavioural disorders at school age, chronic ill  health and subsequent risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke in  adults.
  • Low birthweight breeds poverty in a cycle of deprivation.  Poverty breeds anti-social behaviour and crime.
This is unacceptable  in one of the richest countries in the  world.

Dr. Michael A. Crawford, PhD, CBiol, FIBiol, FRCPath
Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition.

DEFRA food industry strategy

26 April, 2006 - A STRATEGY to tackle the impact of the food industry on precious resources, such as energy and water and its contribution to climate change, was published by Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, today.
Mrs Beckett said: "As an industry the food sector has a significant role to play in achieving a sustainable future for this country.

Read more: DEFRA food industry strategy

Bird Flu - action from which Government? BRUSSELS OR WESTMINSTER


We hear political commentators pontificating on bird flu: as indeed we heard similar commentaries during the last Foot and Mouth disaster. ‘The Government’ says this, thinks that, will do this, won’t do that (after crucial days or weeks of delays) etc. Could such spokesmen in future kindly specify to which ‘government’ they refer, Westminster or Brussels?

I seem to remember the foot and mouth debacle was presided over from Brussels by an Irishman. The British beef herd and trade, 11 million poor beasts and how many farmers? being decimated by unelected officials all but one not necessarily with England’s needs closest to their hearts. And perhaps the one English was a vegetarian.

Has our Westminster government tightened up on controls of illegal bush meats from Africa, and meat from countries with known foot and mouth disease? I think not. No wonder politicians are held in such low regard by the electorate that 40% don’t vote. Who can blame them?

David Marsh, Dip. Agric.