DEFRA sets up food policy group

A fresh team of advisers on food policy – from the farm to the fork – is to be introduced by DEFRA Secretary of State Hilary Benn in a bid to have formed a new policy by the end of this year.

To be called The Council of Food Policy Advisers, the team will include expertise from every sector of the food chain. It will guide government on food affordability, security of supply, environmental issues and contribute to the drawing up of a policy for food security and supply to be published later this year.

The news will be welcomed by industry as there have been calls for a more strategic approach to food policy for some time. Details of who the advisers are have yet to be released.

Speaking at a Chatham House, London, event on global food security today, Mr Benn said:

“With rising prices and increasing demand across the globe, we can’t take our food supply for granted. Our food supply needs to be reliable and resilient and able to withstand shocks and crises.

“Our food supplies must remain secure, and we must have a strong, thriving environmentally sustainable farming industry in this country that continues to produce a significant proportion of our food.”

The new Council will report direct to the Secretary of State at DEFRA but will also be expected to work closely with the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency.