A joining of food and nutrition policies between government departments is desperately needed, according to Sir David Bell, a former chief inspector of schools in England and top civil servant at the Department for Education and Skills
Sir Bell, the current vice chancellor of Reading University, was speaking at the Annual Day of the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) at the the Royal College of Physicians, in London, last month.
The BNF event was attended by a host of food industry representatives, academics and school teachers and some of their award winning pupils studying nutrition from schools across the UK.
According to Foodmanufacture.co.uk, Sir Bell said:”It is important that we continue to press for the better joining up of food and nutrition policy in the UK dare I say especially in England.
“Sometimes the relevant government departments don’t appear to be working as well together in the common interest on these issues as they might."
Sir Bell conveyed particular concern about the disintegration of the money spent on research in food and nutrition. He suggested that the downgrading of food research would lead to uncertainty of new work in the future.
During his speech, Sir Bell posed four challenges to the government, one of which was creating a more joined up food and nutrition policy.
He stated politicians needed to be convinced of the “clear connection between climate change and the food supply”, so they would be better able to deal with the skills gap and get all involved in the food supply chain to work together more efficiently.
According to Sir Bell, everybody in the industry has a vital role to play in addressing the skills shortages to ensure that well-qualified science students entered university wanting to study food-related subjects, including food and nutritional sciences in all levels of Higher Education.
Sir Bell added: “We need to redouble our efforts to ensure the agriculture and food industries – both in manufacturing and retail – work together with government and academia.”