MPs advocate meat reduction to prevent food shortages

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A committee of MPs has recommended that people cut down on the amount of meat they eat to help increase food security in Britain and in poorer countries.

The International Development Select Committee is calling on the Government to start a public health campaign to encourage Britons to go meat-free for at least one or two days a week.

In its report Global Food Security, the committee says that meat should be seen as an “occasional product rather than an everyday staple” and warns that rich and rapidly industrialising nations’ growing appetite for meat is driving up the cost of grain and fuelling deforestation. The cash incentive means that poorer nations are producing grain crops for livestock feed rather than for the nourishment of their own people.

The committee also warned that Britain’s dependence on an unsustainable global food system left it open to food shortages – a situation that a move away from meat could help ease.

“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,” said Sir Malcolm Bruce, the Liberal Democrat committee chairman.

The committee also said that Britain needed to address its huge food wastage issue – 30-50 per cent of all food bought from supermarkets ends up in the bin, according to a 2010 report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

“We recommend the Government set targets for food waste reduction for producers and retailers and introduce sanctions for failure to meet the targets,” it said.

Click here for the full report.