Benn was speaking at the launch of the UK Food Security Assessment, the first assessment of its kind in this country.
He said: "Last year the world had a wake-up call with the sudden oil and food price rises. While we know the price of our food, the full environmental costs and the costs to our health are significant and hidden. We need a radical rethink of how we produce and consume food.
"Globally, we need to cut emissions and adapt to the changing climate that will alter what we can grow and where we can grow it. We must maintain the natural resources — soils, water and biodiversity — on which food production depends. And we need to tackle diet-related ill health, which already costs the NHS and the wider economy billions of pounds each year."
Benn said that the biggest challenges that needed to be addressed were:
- Helping people to eat more healthily and ensuring people have access to safe, affordable food;
- Ensuring the way food is being produced today doesn't damage the natural resources on which future food production depends;
- Meeting the economic and environmental challenges of increased productivity in the food chain.
For more information, visit www.defra.gov.uk/foodrin/security.
See this Friday's issue of Grower for more on the UK Food Security Assessment.
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