UK MPs have today called for action to curb food waste, over-consumption of meat and intensive farming. The Parliamentary Committee on International Development today launched a report on Global Food Security. Speaking as world leaders assemble in London to attend an international nutrition summit hosted by the UK government, Sir Malcolm Bruce, chair of the International Development Committee warned:
“There is no room for complacency about food security over the coming decades if UK consumers are to enjoy stable supplies and reasonable food prices.”
Setting out tangible measures that could have a significant impact on global food security and directly benefit UK consumers, Sir Malcolm said: “There is, for example, considerable scope for the Government to launch a national consumer campaign to reduce domestic food waste. Alongside this the Government should also set national targets to curb food waste within the UK food production and retail sectors, with clear sanctions for companies that fail to meet these targets.
With the UK never more than a few days away from a significant food shortage, UK consumers should also be encouraged over time to reduce how often they eat meat. Meanwhile, as a nation we should place a stronger focus on more sustainable extensive systems of meat production such as pasture-fed cattle, rather than on highly intensive grain-fed livestock units.”
The Committee’s warning is timely and welcome. Getting animals back on the farm, out in fields where they belong, instead of being factory farmed, where they eat food that could be fed directly to people is hugely important. Industrially reared animals worldwide consume enough grain to feed three billion people.
Eating less, but better meat from pasture-fed animals would have a significant impact on consumer health and animal welfare. At the same time, reducing the mountain of food waste in the west has to be an imperative.
To read more on Compassion’s position on feeding the world without factory farming and food waste, see our Food Sense briefing.