IFST publishes call to action to support UK-wide national food strategy

IFST publishes call to action to support UK-wide national food strategy

The Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) has presented its position and vision for an inclusive UK-wide Food Strategy, highlighting its key imperatives and reiterating its commitment to support Government, industry, academia, citizens and IFST members in achieving this vision.

In its call to action, IFST proposes evidence-based changes needed to bolster a professional, resilient and innovative UK food sector. The Institute says that these key aspects require urgent attention to enable future support for the UK population locally at a personal level, at a professional level and at a national level.

The position is downloadable from the IFST website via these links:

Three key areas are highlighted in IFST’s call to action:

  • The need for a long-term truly UK-wide national food strategy;
  • Investment in the food sector to build a competent, innovative and resilient industry with strong foundations in science and technology;
  • A need to inform and educate our UK population on healthy, sustainable diets to empower citizens to eat healthily and sustainably.

IFST says it fully supports the creation of a National Food Strategy and proposes the scope should cover the entire UK, and address the interdependencies of the food system from production to consumption and beyond. IFST recommends that a UK-wide food strategy needs to be ambitious and holistic with a clear pathway to implementation, whilst addressing the interdependencies of the food system.

Additionally, IFST says that deliberate and coordinated efforts are needed to ensure all UK citizens have access to nutritious, safe, affordable, delicious and sustainable food. IT says that citizens must be supported to ensure they have a sufficient understanding of food, diet and food sources, which allows them to follow a culturally relevant, healthy and balanced diet.

IFST also notes that food system resilience should be built-in, ensuring capacity to survive shocks, adapt to change and make a pivotal contribution to a thriving UK economy, including highly professionalised operations that provide equitable and rewarding employment for those working in them.

The UK food system is a key positive contributor to the achievement of global and national environmental targets. Strategic investment in food research and supporting infrastructure is reportedly needed to build the UK’s global position as a leader in food research and development, driving innovation and providing technological solutions fit for a sustainable future food system.

IFST says it believes that food should be a priority at the highest level of Government in the UK. Coordinated and joined-up thinking is needed, says the Institution, with clear, capable and strategic governance, integrated across all Government departments and agencies, and stakeholders to benefit all actors in the UK food sector.

In this vision, IFST puts forward key points of urgency and primary relevance to our members and the UK food system and they look forward to engaging further on the recommendations presented with all stakeholders.

Helen Munday, president of IFST, comments: “Unprecedented change in the food system, resulting from EU Exit and COVID-19, has shown how important a resilient UK food system is. IFST members are the technical professionals who daily deliver safe and nutritious food. We are passionate about applying the latest science and technology to strengthen and improve our UK food system. Without an inclusive UK-wide food strategy with long-term goals and a global view, we will not leverage technological opportunities to improve and develop UK food to be fit for the future. IFST’s vision highlights the need for investment in innovation, its implementation and the skills needed to deliver more sustainable products and processes. Providing our citizens with a greater understanding of food and diet will empower them to make informed food choices, build trust and open dialogues around new technologies.”

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