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Government announces new Food and Drink Sector Council for betterment of regulation

The Government has announced that it will establish the Food and Drink Sector Council in a bid to achieve better regulation in the future. The council will provide a formal connection between Government and the entire food and drink sector, from farm to fork including manufacturers and hospitality businesses.

Enabling industry growth

The creation of the Sector Council recognises the importance of the many sub-sectors that make up the nation's £112 billion 'farm to fork' food chain and employ almost four million people.

The Government's recent Made Smarter Industrial Digitalisation Review report estimated that the food and drink industry could add an additional £55bn to the economy over the next decade through improved digitalisation alone.

While exports of food and drink have grown to record figures over the past year, just one in five food and drink manufacturers currently sell to foreign markets, presenting a considerable untapped opportunity for the industry.

It is hoped that the Sector Council will enable industry growth, with exports, innovation and skills seen as priority areas for both food and drink manufacturing and the other sectors which make up the food chain.

Modernising regulation

The FSA’s Chairman Heather Hancock said: “We are already working to modernise the way we regulate all food businesses, which will ensure we have a system that is robust, sustainable and fit for the 21st century.

"This programme of work, Regulating Our Future, is engaging with businesses and local authorities to ensure the new model for regulation will continue to protect consumers while reducing the burden on businesses that are doing the right thing. We look forward to working with the new Council to deliver these reforms, in the interests of consumers here, and reinforcing our reputation for safe, trustworthy food in international markets.”

Ian Wright CBE, Food and Drink Federation Director General said:

“This is great news. We have been calling for a Food and Drink Sector Council for some time and this is recognition from Government of the central importance of the food and drink supply chain to the economy.

“UK food and drink is a major national asset and the envy of the world. The creation of the Council acknowledges the importance of the sector to both national security and economic growth, and will allow us to unlock our very significant productivity potential and secure our position as a global leader in safe, sustainable, and high-quality food and drink.

"We will continue to work closely with both Defra and BEIS to ensure we secure a transformative sector deal for food and drink manufacturing.”

Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove said:

“The Industrial Strategy contains important plans to boost our agriculture and food industries' productivity, while enhancing our natural environment.

“We have a thriving, world-renowned food and drink sector and the establishment of a Food and Drink Sector Council will create a new and ambitious partnership between government and industry. The Council will build on existing proposals for a sector deal, securing the UK's position as a global leader in sustainable, affordable and high-quality food and drink.

“Added to that, the Industrial Strategy's clean growth Grand Challenge – specifically the 'Transforming food production: from farm to fork' programme - will drive innovation in food production whilst reducing emissions, pollution, waste and soil erosion. All of this will put the UK at the forefront of advanced sustainable agriculture.”

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