Speaking at the House of Commons yesterday (4 December), BPC chairman John Reed unveiled its Vision 2019 strategy, which called on the government to ensure that British food stayed “affordable and available” for all consumers at every price point and left “no one behind”.
The initiative stated that every person should have access to safe, wholesome and nutritious food; whether it was an everyday customer in a supermarket, a patient in a hospital or a child in a school, as well as someone who needed help from a charity or foodbank.
Reed said BPC believed that with the economic and social pressures being created by Brexit, access to food would become one of the nation’s biggest challenges.
“We need to make international trade a priority,” said Reed. “If we cannot find a solution to labour and trade, then we run the risk of creating a two-tier food system. If these challenges are not addressed, they have the potential to shatter the structure of British food production.”
Also speaking in parliament, UK farming minister George Eustice congratulated the UK poultry sector on innovation in an “unsubsidised” sector and particularly the reduction in antibiotic use in UK poultry.
“It’s a very exciting time for change and we are targeting financial support from the government,” said Eustice. “The Agriculture Bill should reward sustainability and maintain high standards of animal health and welfare. We are building towards this as antibiotics amongst poultry products are down by 82% which is extraordinary.”
Neil Parish MP also commented that the food industry needed to remain firm in maintaining standards when trading with other markets.
“We need to make sure food that is imported into our country meets our standards. Those that don’t should not be allowed into the UK.”
UK parliament is spending the remainder of the week debating Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.