Public consultation has opened on a Labour MSP's proposal for a bill to incorporate the right to food into Scots law.

Highlands & Islands member Rhoda Grant has taken up the idea previously promoted by her colleague Elaine Smith, who stood down at the last election. That proposal won enough support for a bill to be introduced, but not in time before the end of the last Parliament.

The bill would establish an independent statutory body to oversee food policy to ensure that no one goes hungry in Scotland. If it became law, the Scottish Government would have responsibility for ensuring that food is available, accessible, and adequate for everyone.

In her paper Ms Grant explains that as recognised in international treaties, the right to food can be both a negative right, meaning that governments should not inflict conditions on individuals which mean that they cannot acquire their own food, and a positive right, which requires governments to take action to ensure a right is maintained and protected. It would not usually enable an individual to sue their government in the event that they are not able to eat.

She seeks to tackle food insecurity, the inability to acquire or consume sufficient food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty about being able to do so. Food insecurity is reflected in the growth in food banks in Scotland: the Trussell Trust, for example, has reported that in the year to March 2021, it gave out 63% more parcels compared with five years previously.

The consultation is taking place after a committee of MSPs decided that a further exercise should take place despite the consultation on Ms Smith's proposal.

Click here to access to consultation. The deadline for responses is 16 February 2022.