Beef farmers call for more focus on UK food security

Beef producers have said that British food and farming has 'never been more important'
Beef producers have said that British food and farming has 'never been more important'

Beef producers have told the government to focus more on future food security as British farming has 'never been more important'.

In an open letter to Defra Secretary George Eustice, the National Beef Association (NBA) called on government to take food security seriously.

The letter asked for the fast-tracking of an objective study, after amendments to the Agriculture Bill to protect UK standards were not adopted, during its third reading.

It called on government to confirm that existing EU law - preventing food imports from inferior production processes - would be fully adopted into UK law, effectively ‘slamming the door’ to hormone-treated beef imports.

The letter also stated that government is not taking food security as seriously as it should be. It highlighted that mid-pandemic, food shortages were still being experienced in supermarkets.

NBA interim CEO Neil Shand, who wrote the letter, stated that 2000 trucks a day come in from Europe to feed the country, and in the scenario that the UK was forced to close borders, shelves would be empty of the majority of fresh food in less than ten days.

Never has home-grown and home-produced food been more important than it is now, the NBA said, adding that it was vital that strong frameworks were put in place to protect Britain’s producers.

The letter also noted the provision within the new Agriculture Bill for a government-led survey to assess food security.

The NBA asked for this objective baseline study to be carried out as the Bill is introduced, thus allowing the performance of the Bill to benchmarked at its first five-year analysis.

The trade body said this would allow for any potential food security issues that may arise to be identified, and corrective measures to be taken at their infancy rather than a further five years down the line.