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Environment secretary talks up UK food industry

Environment secretary talks up UK food industry

The environment secretary has praised the international standing of the UK's food industry.

According to Owen Paterson, the sector currently employs approximately four million people in Britain, the Scunthorpe Telegraph reports.

In addition, he noted that it is growing its share of the global market and forging a reputation for excellence around the world.

Mr Paterson was speaking during a visit to OSI Food Solutions' site in Scunthorpe, which manufactures burgers for McDonald's.

"We can prove the taste and people want quality and traceability," Mr Paterson commented.

"OSI invested £6 million last year in a state-of-the-art freezing system and what struck me as I went round was the care taken over every piece of meat."

Mr Paterson went on to suggest that people living in the area pursue a career in food manufacturing and production.

The environment secretary said one of the best things about the sector is that it welcomes people who have just left school and those who have gained a university degree such as a PhD.

Furthermore, he noted that anybody can put forward suggestions on how processes can be improved and be in with a good chance of seeing them introduced quickly.

Mr Paterson added that North Lincolnshire remains an appealing destination for investors despite recent floods and that £3.2 million are being put towards flood management throughout the current parliament.

This, he said, is the "most in British history" and he insisted the government is aware of the impact flooding has on both homes and businesses in affected areas.

Mr Paterson also took the opportunity during his visit to speak with students who are participating in the McDonald's Progressive Young Farmers programme, an initiative being run to educate young people about supply chain processes in the agricultural sector.

This comes shortly after he visited the Cadbury factory in Birmingham to gain a further insight into current developments in food manufacturing.

During his visit to the Bournville-based chocolate manufacturer, Mr Paterson got the chance to see young engineers in action, while also getting the opportunity to find out what the British food industry is doing to attract the next generation of skilled employees.


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