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Expert comment - Food system reform needed to protect NHS, improve health and save our environment

The National Food Strategy has called on the UK government to commit to a historic package of reforms to build a better food system.
Shoppers queueing at a vegetable stall

Recommendations in the independent report, commissioned by the Government in 2019, include a landmark Sugar and Salt Reformulations Tax, expansion of Free School meals, and a major overhaul of food education. They say COVID-19 is a 'painful reality check' but is an opportunity to rethink our diets and food production.

A team from LSHTM contributed analyses to the report, and provided funds for the youth engagement work through a Wellcome Trust grant. They include Alan Dangour, Professor of Food and Nutrition for Global Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Professor Dangour said: “This important report should serve as a blueprint for other countries seeking to deliver sustainable and healthy food systems. By directly linking the environment, food systems and health, this report addresses a fundamental and critical concern for humans living on earth; ensuring everyone has access to a healthy diet while protecting the planet. 

 "Various government departments across the world have raised this question, but few have taken strong enough action. We will only adequately tackle health and environmental issues if we combine the relevant sectors and transform the way we operate.

 "Many of the recommendations in the report are bold and will stimulate debate. While others are obvious and necessary if we want to live in a country that cares for people in the wider society and actively protects the natural environment. 

 "The UK Government must now step up and fulfil its duty to protect people and reinvent a food system that is conducive for long-lasting health and environmental stability.”

 

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