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New legislation will ensure good quality food is reality for everyone

By Kyle Ritchie

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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 for everyone under new legislation.

The Good Food Nation Bill will ensure Scottish Ministers and a range of public bodies will produce good food nation plans to support social and economic wellbeing, the environment, health and economic development.

The Bill lays the foundation for Scotland to become a Good Food Nation where people from all walks of life take pride and pleasure from the food they produce, buy, cook and eat each day.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “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.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon with Scotland's national chef, Gary Maclean.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon with Scotland's national chef, Gary Maclean.

“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 underpins in law the important work that is already being done across food and agriculture policy.

Initiatives include the Healthy Living Programme run in more than 2300 convenience stores helps to promote healthier produce in shops, with many outlets in the most deprived areas.

School food and drink regulations which commenced in April increased the amount of fruit and vegetables offered to children and young people each school day, while the Healthcare Retail Standard means half of all food and 70 per cent of drinks sold in NHS Scotland shops is healthy.

The Food For Life programme, funded by the Scottish Government, gives reassurance to parents and pupils that their local authority is providing school meals which are responsibly sourced and freshly prepared by trained cooks, while away from home, new food labelling standards introduced by Food Standards Scotland help people to make informed choices about what they eat.

Work on the Good Food Nation Bill was well underway when, in March 2020, work was paused to allow time for implementing emergency Covid-19 legislation.

The 2021 Programme for Government committed to introducing a Good Food Nation Bill in this Parliamentary session.

The Scottish Government has committed to putting in place a new human rights framework, via a Human Rights Bill to be introduced this Parliamentary session, which will give effect to international human rights law in Scots law, including a right to adequate food, as part of the overall right to an adequate standard of living.

The need to create a statutory body, such as a Food Commission will also be considered.

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