Health boards and local authorities will develop wide-ranging plans to help ensure good quality, locally sourced and produced food is a practical everyday reality, under a new bill before the Scottish Parliament.
The Good Food Nation (Scotland) Bill will require Scottish ministers and a range of public bodies to produce “good food nation” plans to support social and economic wellbeing, the environment, health and economic development.
It supports the Scottish Government's Good Food Nation policy, which seeks to promote people taking a keen interest in their food, knowing what constitutes good food, having access to it, valuing it and seeking it out whenever they can. People who serve and sell food – from schools to hospitals, retailers, cafes and restaurants – would commit to serving and selling good food. Dietary-related diseases would be in decline, as would the environmental impact of our food consumption, with Scottish producers ensuring that what they produce is increasingly healthy and environmentally sound. Food companies would be a thriving feature of the economy and places where people want to work.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon commented: “We are committed to ensuring everyone in Scotland has access to healthy, nutritious fare and that businesses and public kitchens commit to producing, selling and serving good food.
“Organisations can play a leading role in this process – looking at how they boost local procurement, cut down food waste and packaging, use in-season produce as well disposing of food waste in an environmentally friendly way.
“But that’s not all. For example, a wide ranging food education can equip school pupils with the key skills they need to cook tasty, nutritious meals using the incredible array of world-class produce we have, but also to make informed food choices when they are away from home.
“We have been working across Government through an extensive programme of measures to deliver on our ambition to be a Good Food Nation, and our work to deliver action and practical measures will continue throughout this Parliament, not least to encourage the use of sustainable local produce and to help our children eat well.”
The bill covers different ground from the proposed member's bill, the Right to Food (Scotland) Bill, by Rhoda Grant MSP, which would incorporate the right to food into Scots law. Despite Ms Grant's plea that consultation on her proposal was unnecessary as an identical proposal gained sufficient support in the previous Parliament, a committee of MSPs has decided that consultation should take place before the bill is introduced. Ms Grant has until 5 December to lodge her consultation document.