The Prince of Wales has launched a scathing attack on the food industry criticising current production methods at a recent conference.
Speaking to the Langenburg Forum at Langenburg Castle in Germany, Prince Charles said that the processes used by many companies in the sector has led to problems such as the horsemeat scandal. He stated that this is having a knock-on effect to public health and that there should be an increased focus on a local model for food production and distribution to ensure that these problems do not persist.
The issue around horsemeat was well documented, with a number of major companies such as Tesco, Ikea and Findus all being found to be associated with products that contained equine DNA. This meat had been labelled as beef but following tests they had to be withdrawn to reduce the threat to public health.
Prince Charles explained that the current approach adopted by major organisation is "rapidly mining resilience out of our food system". He added that as companies look to source cheaper food that it could be a problem that engulfs the entire industry, affecting everyone from the farmers to the chief executive officers of these organisations.
"It may appear that things are well. Big global corporations may appear to be prospering out of operating on a global monocultural scale, but, as I hope you have seen, if you drill down into what is actually happening, things are not so healthy," Princes Charles explained.
One of the focal points to help alleviate the problems that have been prevalent within the food industry was establishing more apprenticeship schemes. These initiatives are designed to get younger people into the food sector but the Prince of Wales warned that they are being consistently deterred by what is seen as an "unrewarding profession".
As a result, the average age of British farmers is 58 and there does not seem to be any let up in school leavers or university graduates going from higher education into the agricultural sector.