Intended for healthcare professionals


New food strategy for England

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 27 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5711
  1. Martin Caraher, professor emeritus food and health policy
  1. Centre for Food Policy, School of Health Sciences, City, University of London, London, UK
  1. m.caraher{at}

Evidence exists to shape the policy, but underfunding of services may affect delivery

The environment secretary has commissioned an independent review to help create a national food strategy for England.1 Reflecting the current trend in Westminster for independent advisers, the review will be carried out by Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of Leon restaurants, co-author of the School Food Plan, and a non-executive director at the Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The press release claims that this is a “once in a generation opportunity to shape our food system for the future,” which ignores the 2008 report Food Matters,2 launched by the then prime minister, Gordon Brown, as a strategy for the 21st century. This strategy got lost in the subsequent elections and the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.3

The current aim is to develop an overarching plan to tackle health and environmental concerns and to inform existing bills and strategies in areas such as health, agriculture, fisheries, industry, and environment. This is important …

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