The UK Agriculture Bill is currently at the Reports stage in Parliament, and sustainable food project IKnowFood , which came from the N8 Agrifood Resilience Programme at the University of York, said the Bill needs to give more thought to the implications of farming methods on the UK’s food industry and public health.
The N8 AgriFood Resilience Programme is a research partnership which combines the expertise of the eight most research-intensive universities in the North of England, working to tackle issues surrounding global food security.
Professor Bob Doherty from the University of York is Principal Investigator for IKnowFood, and was invited to sit on a round-table group in Westminster and help draft amendments to the Bill.
Doherty said the development of a new post-Brexit UK agriculture policy would be a seminal moment for the future of the country's food system, but the Bill said more about land management and agriculture than food, and raised concerns over a lack of "a strong and explicit commitment" that sustainable agriculture and food would not be undercut by the need to secure trade agreements outside the EU.
Yorkpress.co.uk quoted Doherty as saying: "There is nothing in the Bill, for instance, to address our chronic dependence on foreign imports -principally from the EU- for our fruit and vegetables. This is surprising, considering the UK’s unenviable reputation as the home to among the most unhealthy and overweight populations in the EU.”