Michael Gove has set out plans to launch a new food strategy for the UK after Brexit, following criticism about his Agriculture Bill not talking about food policy. Gove also announced a £15m food surplus redistribution scheme, aimed at generating 250 extra meals per year.
Speaking at the Conservative Party event in Birmingham, Mr Gove stated that the Tory government is in the best position to bolster the UK’s food and farming industries, despite concerns about the effect a no-Brexit deal to have.
Under the scheme, farmers would be rewarded for making positive environmental impacts, food labelling would be reformed to provide consumers with the information they want and a new food redistribution scheme would generate 250 million extra meals a year.
Speaking at the conference, Gove said: “When we are outside the EU, we will also publish a new food strategy for Britain. We will ensure that food production is truly sustainable, replenishing the soil, using energy wisely and supporting innovation. And we will reform food labelling so that we uphold the highest animal welfare standards and give consumers the information they need to stay safe.
“Every year, millions of tonnes of good, nutritious, edible food is thrown away. This is an environmental, economic and moral folly, and we will address it.”
Some of the charities who are set to benefit from the new food distribution scheme include FareShare, who were postivie about the announcement saying, “We congratulate Michael Gove for responding to our call to use surplus food for social good.
“This fund means we can get so many more charities more of the food they so desperately need: fresh fruit and veg, meat, dairy and fish, by diverting food that would otherwise be wasted within the supply chain.”
In his speak, Gove also stated that new initiatives would be set up to deal with the issue of waste. Steps will be taken to make sure that recycling is easier, more investment is contributed into cleaner technologies and tougher penalties would be imposed on fly-tippers and criminals who pollute the landscape.
Gove reiterated that British food and agriculture will be able to act faster and be more flexible after leaving the European Union, saying, “Our new Agriculture Bill will help farmers to be more productive and ensure they get a fair price for their produce. It will mean that they can invest in new technology to help them provide a harvest for the world.”