Report: UK must eat less meat

A House of Commons select committee is urging UK families to stop eating meat on a daily basis.

The level of inflation on UK food prices would fall and more energy would be saved if meats such as chicken and beef were no longer daily indulgences according to the International Development Committee report, which is entitled Global Food Security.

According to the MPs on the committee, an increase in meat consumption throughout Europe in recent years has contributed to the obesity epidemic and put pressure on agricultural land. By reducing consumers' dependency on meat, these pressures would ease, they suggest in their report.

The report also reccomends that the government launches a campaign promoting a drop in meat consumption and the benefits of consuming more fruit and vegetables.

'There is no room for complacency about food security over the coming decades if UK consumers are to enjoy stable supplies and reasonable food prices,' said Sir Michael Bruce, chairman of the committee.

Sir Michael warned that the UK, due to an over-reliance on imports, is never 'more than a few days away from a significant food shortage'.

He added: 'UK aid to help smallholders increase food production in the developing world is of direct benefit to UK consumers as rising world food prices will reduce living standards of hard-pressed UK consumers.'

However, the report - which also warns of the effect of biofuels, stating that the EU's reccomendations for 10 per cent of all liquid fuels to come from bio sources by 2020 could lead to further food price hikes - has come under attack by the NFU.

'Livestock farming is an essential part of the fabric of the British countryside,' said Charles Sercombe, livestock board chairman at the NFU.He concluded: 'We turn otherwise unused parts of land into food and protein that the public can eat as part of a balanced diet. I am disappointed in the report as we are using the land as efficiently as possible.'