National Food Strategy: Prescribe vegetables, tax sugar and salt, says report

2 weeks ago 12

By Justin Rowlatt
Chief situation correspondent

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image captionThe nutrient manufacture exploits our primal appetites for fat, sweetener and salt, says the review

Sugar and brackish should beryllium taxed and vegetables prescribed by the NHS, an autarkic reappraisal of nutrient argumentation successful England has suggested.

The report, led by Leon co-founder Henry Dimbleby, says taxes raised could widen escaped schoolhouse repast proviso and enactment amended diets among the poorest.

The National Food Strategy besides wants GPs to effort prescribing effect and vegetables to promote steadfast eating.

The authorities has promised to respond with a White Paper wrong six months.

This is expected to see proposals for policies for its ain National Food Strategy.

The review, commissioned by the authorities successful 2019, says historical reforms of the nutrient strategy are needed to support the NHS, amended the wellness of the federation and prevention the environment.

It describes the Covid-19 pandemic arsenic a "painful world check" which has revealed the standard of food-related ill-health.

"Our precocious obesity complaint has been a large origin successful the UK's tragically precocious decease rate," said Mr Dimbleby. "We indispensable present prehend the infinitesimal to physique a amended nutrient strategy for our children and grandchildren."

Poor fare contributes to 64,000 deaths a twelvemonth successful England unsocial and costs the system £74bn, the reappraisal says.

It claims much than fractional of over-45s present unrecorded with diet-related wellness conditions.

And our eating habits are not conscionable damaging our health, they are besides destroying the environment, the reappraisal warns.

The nutrient we devour accounts for astir a 4th of greenhouse state emissions, according to the review.

The planetary nutrient strategy is the azygous biggest contributor to biodiversity loss, deforestation, drought, freshwater contamination and the illness of aquatic wildlife, says the review. It is besides the second-biggest contributor to clime change, aft the vigor industry.

Junk nutrient is astatine the bosom of the problem, Mr Dimbleby and his squad argue.

Their 290-page study says the nutrient manufacture exploits our primal appetites for fat, sweetener and brackish to make products we find astir intolerable to resist.

Calorie for calorie these highly processed foods are 3 times cheaper than steadfast food, the study finds.

This is the motor driving the epidemic of food-related sick wellness and the review's astir arguable proposal volition beryllium the proposition that the authorities effort to tackle this by bringing successful a taxation connected sweetener and salt.

The reappraisal recommends this is acceptable astatine £3/kg for sweetener and £6/kg for brackish sold wholesale for usage successful processed foods, oregon successful restaurants and catering businesses.

This would correspond a precise melodramatic summation successful the outgo of these 2 important ingredients.

The report's authors anticipation this volition make an inducement for manufacturers to trim the levels of sweetener and brackish successful their products, by changing their recipes oregon reducing information sizes

The taxation could rise arsenic overmuch arsenic £3.4bn a year, the reappraisal squad calculates, and could trim the magnitude of calories eaten by each of america by betwixt 15 and 38kcal a day.

The National Food Strategy recognises that by raising prices of immoderate products the sweetener and brackish taxation is apt to enactment other fiscal strain connected the poorest families and has a bid of recommendations designed to get caller nutrient and ingredients to low-income households with children.

It recommends immoderate of the wealth raised from the caller taxes is utilized to widen escaped schoolhouse meals to families with a household income of £20,000 oregon less.

That represents a important summation from the existent ceiling of £7,400, which the study says is truthful debased that immoderate children from little income families spell bare astatine lunchtime.

image captionHenry Dimbleby, the lad of broadcaster David Dimbleby and cookery writer Jocelyn Dimbleby, says the pandemic was a "painful world check" connected the nation's health

The reappraisal besides recommends expanding spending connected different schemes to amended the diets of families connected debased incomes and improving nutrient education.

It encourages the authorities to acceptable a people to trim the nation's nutrient depletion by 30% implicit 10 years and suggests the authorities should proceedings a "Community Eatwell" programme involving GPs prescribing effect and vegetables - arsenic good arsenic nutrient acquisition - to patients who are suffering the effects of mediocre fare oregon nutrient insecurity.

Other recommendations include:

  • Helping farmers modulation to much sustainable farming methods by guaranteeing the fund for cultivation payments to astatine slightest 2029
  • Dividing onshore arsenic betwixt precocious strength farming, environment-friendly low-intensity agriculture and quality reserves
  • Drawing up halfway standards for commercialized agreements truthful inexpensive imported nutrient doesn't undercut UK farming and undermine the situation elsewhere
  • Investing £1bn connected probe and improvement to assistance amended the nationalist diet, make sustainable farming practices and support the environment
  • Introducing a Good Food Bill with targets to amended diet-related wellness and to thrust a semipermanent betterment successful the nutrient system

The archetypal part of this two-part reappraisal was published past summertime and looked astatine nutrient arsenic portion of commercialized deals and farming payments.

These latest proposals person received backing from starring names successful the nutrient industry.

Restaurateur and Great British Bake-Off justice Prue Leith called it "a compelling and overdue program of action" which, if adopted, would enactment "our nutrient strategy connected the close way to wellness and prosperity".

Jamie Oliver, the cook and steadfast eating campaigner, said: "If some authorities and businesses are consenting to instrumentality bold enactment and prioritise the public's health, past we person an unthinkable accidental to make a overmuch fairer and much sustainable nutrient strategy for each families."

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said she wanted to spot authorities policies designed to conscionable Mr Dimbleby's recommendations. "Too often an indispensable study which ministers themselves person commissioned ends up being ignored," she warned.

Additional reporting by Marie Jackson, BBC News

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