The Government Food Strategy has encountered yet more criticism this week, with campaigners launching legal action against perceived shortfalls of the plan.
Global Feedback, a campaign group focussed on regenerative food production, says the recently published National Food Strategy fails to support the transition to a low-carbon diet through encouraging the consumption of less meat.
The group’s intention to seek a judicial review of the Food Strategy is the latest in a long line of criticism of the plan, which has divided opinion since its publication back in June.
Global Feedback says despite there being plenty of data to show that cutting meat and dairy can help the country achieve its net zero goals and have a positive impact on the climate crisis, the Government’s food plans do not take any of this into account.
The founder of restaurant chain Leon Henry Dimbleby first tabled a 30% reduction in meat and dairy consumption in the Government-commissioned recommendations for the National Food Strategy last year. The Committee on Climate Change, an independent public body, also urges a cut in consumption to ensure net zero is achievable.
One of the biggest reasons why cutting animal consumption is advised is because of the methane emissions produced by ruminant animals like cattle and sheep. Methane is a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide, but it can be eliminated from the atmosphere much quicker.
This means that measures which seek to cut the amount of methane in the atmosphere are an effective method of mitigating the effects of parts of the climate crisis in the short term.
While the Food Strategy does focus on supporting the development of alternative proteins and sustainable food production, it does not encourage the public to eat less meat and dairy.
Global Feedback’s letter before claim (LBC), a necessary precursor step in seeking judicial review, states: “The food strategy made no mention of, and showed no consideration of, the clear advice on meat and dairy reduction coming from both the CCC and [Dimbleby’s] independent review; or even any consideration of the issue they had raised.”
Carina Millstone, the Executive Director of Global Feedback, told The Guardian: “By failing to take any action whatsoever to support the reduction of meat and dairy, against the advice of Henry Dimbleby and the Committee on Climate Change, the government is committing to vast agricultural methane emissions.
“Rather than signing us all up for climate chaos, we want the government to go back to the drawing board and produce the strategy we were promised: one that actually delivers for the climate and nature.”
This is the second time the Government has been legally challenged in recent months over its food policies.
Back in April, cereals brand Kellogg’s took the Government to court in protest of the then-incoming HFSS rules. The Royal Courts of Justice has since ruled in the favour of the Government.
Get ahead of the pack with this upcoming Trend Panel exploring the sustainable food trends you can expect in 2023: