An extract from a feature on traceability in The 6 March 2015 issue of British Baker: Chris Young from the Real Bread Campaign says the shorter the links of the chain from seed to sandwich, the better. “We have always championed Real Bread being made at the hearts of our local communities and encouraged bakers to seek out local ingredients. The fuller the details provide by the baker of how, where, when and with what a loaf was made, the more confident people will be that they are paying an honest price for an honest crust,” he says. “More and more want people in local bakeries who can tell them everything about their loaves in person. More people are prepared to pay a premium for loaves in the belief that certain standards or values are being adhered to, but the Real Bread Campaign wants to legal definitions to words including ‘artisan’, ‘fresh’, ‘traditional’, and ‘sourdough’ in place.”
12/03/2015 Real Bread Campaign
The Food Research Collaboration, which brings together academics and civil society organisations has launched a Research Wanted Forum and are doing a call out for anyone with requests for food research they need. The site hosts requests from local and national organisations who have identified research needs, and with a network of the top food academics in the UK, hopes to matchmake these needs with appropriate researchers. They are also interested in offers of research, and support for existing food research.
Council leaders, Andrew Burns and Gordon Matheson, signed a progressive pledge in support of the Church of Scotland's 'Food Justice Movement', to tackle food poverty in their cities.As well as seeking changes on their home turf and in Scottish Government, they are encouraging other parts of the UK to match their commitments and develop their own plans to tackle the causes of food poverty.
Sustain will be launching a new camapign on food poverty in Spring 2015.
Child health should be election issue, says the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH). It said there was large public support for junk food advertising bans, cooking lessons in school and lowering speed limits. [BBC] The survey results have been cleverly displayed in a series of images on Buzzfeed.
The RCPCH has made a series of policy recommendations ahead of the next general election aimed at improving children's health - for more details see their 'Vision 2015' document.
06/03/2015 Children's Food Campaign
Jamie Oliver has stepped in to the fray over the threat posed to food standards by the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which he believes will lower standards such as getting around bans imposed by the EU on putting growth hormoes and pesticides in meat, as the same standards dont apply in the US.
06/03/2015 Food and Farming Policy
Access to our markets has traditionally been shielded by the EU capping the amount of sugar grown in Europe, allowing farmers and their families in African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries to trade with the UK and other European countries. However, the EU has decided to get rid of this cap, and with it the safeguarding of farmers’ livelihoods affecting hundreds of thousands of farmers - including 62,000 that are part of the Fairtrade system.
A new report by the NFU raises concerns about the UK's self-sufficiency in food. Their figures show that the long-term decline in home produced food is set to continue, predicting that by 2040 53% of the nation's food needs will be met by produce from home farms, down from 60% currently. This, say the NFU, raises concerns for food security, employment and the economy in Britain. See Sustain's advice on supporting sustainable food here.
EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority) and the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) have raised concerns about anti-microbial resistance in bacteria found in chicken across Europe. Their latest report found that campylobacter is becoming resistant to front-line drugs, limiting treatment options for some of the most common food-borne infections.See Sustain's work with the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics here.
One third of all food produced in the world is wasted, at a value of more than $400 billion, according to a new report by WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) in conjunction with the Commission on the Economy and Climate. Their report aims to highlight both the economic and environmental benefits of reducing food waste. They estimate that by 2030, a 20-50% reduction in consumer food waste could save an estimated $120-300 billion per year. Read about Sustain's food waste project FoodSave here.
The Food Standards Agency has published the latest set of results in its year-long survey of campylobacter on fresh chickens. Results so far show that 73% of chickens tested positive for campylobacter, with 19% testing positive for campylobacter within the highest band of contamination. The data show variation between retailers but the FSA said none of them is meeting the target for reducing campylobacter. See Sustain's work with the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics.
Garden Organic has released a report 'Growing for Health and Happiness' showing the physical and mental health benefits for people who start growing their own food with the support of the Master Gardener Programme. Research conducted by Coventry University showed essential health impacts for participants as well as significant social and environmental benefits. See also Sustain's work with Garden Organic on the national project Growing Health.
Campaigners at Farms Not Factories have welcomed news that the Environment Agency have turned down an environmental permit for a pig farm with capacity for up to 24,500 pigs at Foston, Derbyshire. The proposed unit had been the subject of a four-year long fight between campaigners opposing the plan and Midland Pig Producers.
The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Jose Graziano da Silva, has said that the current model of agricultural production is not suitable for the challenges of the 21st century. While the numbers of chronically hungry have reduced, 805 million people still go without enough to eat on a regular basis. This is happening, da Silva said, even though the world produces enough food to feed everyone. "We need a paradigm shift. Food systems need to be more sustainable, inclusive and resilient" he added.
Fifty British food and drink businesses were celebrated by DEFRA at the recent launch of their 'Food Stars' initiative. Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss praised the success of Britain's food and drink entrepreneurs and said: “Now is the time to celebrate that success which is helping grow our economy - that is why we’ve created Food Stars to recognise the bright innovators of today and support them to become the major players of tomorrow.” The scheme gives support from the Food and Drink Federation and Cranfield University.
Just imagine: you’re in hospital recovering from an operation. Your appetite is returning and you’re looking forward to nothing more complicated than a bowl of hot, tasty soup.
03/03/2015 Better Hospital Food
In an article for the Guardian, Prue Leith CBE calls the government's hospital food proposals "hopelessly weak". She calls on it to carry out radical changes to the way that food is served and sold in hospitals in England. This includes investing in more kitchens and setting more ambitious food standards in law.
Take action at Sustain's Campaign for Better Hospital Food
02/03/2015 Better Hospital Food
Food writer says NHS catering contract changes due next month are ‘feeble’ and will not eradicate poor quality food and wastage in hospitals
02/03/2015 Better Hospital Food
The new guidelines are pathetic. Patients deserve so much better than plastic containers filled with sweaty cheese, dabs of marge and unidentifiable grey mush
02/03/2015 Better Hospital Food
The World Health Organization (WHO) has proposed a nutrient profiling tool to help European member states that wish to restrict marketing of certain foods to children. Applying the nutrient profile model to confectionery would not allow its marketing to kids. But it will be left to member states to take action, through voluntary of statutory measures, according to their preferences.
Currently the lack of such an agreed EU-wide nutrient profiling model is a huge gap in existing regulation and affects the ability of countries to implement effective rules to tackle the marketing of high fat, salt, sugar food.
27/02/2015 Children's Food Campaign
London has dodged a sugary bullet. Coca Cola will not be adding sponsorship of the "Boris Bikes" cycle hire scheme to their porfolio of branded tourist attractions and events in the capital, which includes the London Eye and activities in London's parks. Today Transport for London announced banking group Santander had pipped Coca Cola - the only other shortlisted bidder - to being chosen as the new named sponsor for what had been the Barclays cycle hire scheme.
The few extra £ millions that Coca Cola would have put into cycling would have been small change compared to the cost of sugary drinks on London's NHS and on residents' lives.
27/02/2015 Sugary Drinks Duty
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Projects & campaigns
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Children's Food Campaign
Food and Farming Policy
Food co-ops toolkit
Good Food For London
London Food Link
Planning Food Cities
Real Bread Campaign
Roots to work
Save Our Antibiotics
Sugar Smart UK
Sugary Drinks Duty
Sustainable Fish Cities
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The Big Dig
Urban Food Fortnight