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Food Act needed for health, jobs and farmers, argues public health leader

A new Food Act is necessary to secure healthy and sustainable diets for our children and for future generations, argues the President of the Faculty of Public Health John Middleton, in his editorial in the June 2017 edition of the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

"We could pay our farmers more, build more jobs in food production and processing, and have slimmer children and a less poisoned environment," says John Middleton, arguing that the benefits would be manifold. "Improving the health of people in the UK will improve the productivity of our nation, and enhancing our health and care industries will provide a platform for creating health related jobs: the 'health dividend'.”

"The regulations that have protected consumers, workers, the environment, our health, and our rights are under threat, now and in future trade deals. We should resist international corporations riding roughshod over national government provisions for safety, welfare, and health and using their financial muscle to threaten conditions they do not want in international trade deals. We should expect our government to champion better standards for consumers, for workers, and for health and the environment in new trade deals. The Brexit negotiations may take us to a better UK, but we risk losing our rights to health, to protection of the workplace, our air, our soil, and our food. We need to see health in all policies—supporting a fairer, health improving economy and helping us to healthier food, jobs, housing, care, and better places to live. Let’s not leave it to the politicians—let’s debate general policy matters for a better, healthier UK."

The editorial argues the case for the next UK government to make health central to all its policies. It also warns that the UK it must not surrender citizen rights to health in the post-Brexit era. The repeal of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights will see the loss of the 'right to health', a basic legal protection that UK citizens currently enjoy as members of the European Union.

Read more about the legal milestones ahead for UK food, farming and fishing policy, as the UK prepares to leave the EU - Sustain's proposals include championing of a new Food Act, to achieve a Better Food Britain

Published 16 Jun 2017

Good Trade Campaign: Campaigning for good trade that benefits people and the planet at home and overseas.

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