By Meghan Taylor
Consumers will not be advised to eat less poultry or red meat, on health grounds, according to Henry Dimbleby, who returned to the Oxford Farming Conference earlier this month to discuss the National Food Strategy, two years after its launch.
Much of the strategy focusses on encouraging people to eat less ultra-processed food, high in sugar and fat. Dimbleby’s presentation underlined that health issues related to poor diet, caused by the consumption of foods high in sugar and fat, now greatly outweigh the risk that smoking tobacco poses to a person’s life.
Dimbleby said: “We didn’t put anything in the strategy that said people should reduce their meat consumption on health grounds,” on the basis that data surrounding these claims is ‘frankly bad.’
However, a reduction in meat consumption has been discussed. “The primary reason for reducing meat consumption is because of the land, we need the land to do other things,” said Dimbleby.
Currently, 85% of UK farmland is used to rear animals, which the strategy proposes we reduce. But ir proposes changes in some areas to improve biodiversity, conserve grazed land, restore peatland, and native woodland.
Meanwhile, 63 to 65% of land would continue to be farmed in the same way that it is now, the strategy proposes. The land would include beef, lamb, and dairy pastures, as well as pig and poultry farms.