Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

We advocate food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

@UKsustain

Latest News & Publications

Minister backs sugar tax

Life sciences minister George Freeman has publicly supported a sugar tax, The Daily Telegraph and the Mail Online have reported. Mr Freeman is the first minister to back a sugar tax, which was ruled out last year by Jeremy Hunt the Health Secretary. The Daily Telegraph reported Mr Freeman's comments, made to an audience at the Hay Festival "I don't think heavy-handed legislation is the way to go" he said "But I think that where there is a commercial product which confers costs on all of us as a society, as in sugar, and where we can clearly show that the use of that leads to huge pressures on social costs, then we could be looking at recouping some of that through taxation....Companies should know that if you insist on selling those products, we will tax them." Mr Freeman's comments were welcomed by health campaigners. The Department of Health said there were no plans to introduce a sugar tax. See Sustain's response and support Sustain's campaign to introduce a sugary drinks duty here.

22/05/2015
Sustain

Sustain welcomes Government Minister's support for exploring sugar taxation

Sustain welcomes the support by Government minister, George Freeman, for taking a tougher stance on sugar.

Ben Reynolds, Acting Coordinator of Sustain, said, ‘As the first minister to back a tax on sugar, this is an important development in tackling diet related disease, and what it costs our country. For the last few years we have been calling for a sugary drinks duty, as it is clear we need to take a tougher stance on the amount of sugar put in our foods. We believe that a sugary drinks duty could be a good way to raise money for a children’s health fund, and would be a step in making sure that good food is as affordable as bad food.’

Sustain is calling for a Children’s Health Fund, and has estimated that a 20p per litre sugary drinks duty could save the NHS £300 million.

22/05/2015
Sustain

Opportunity for London good food producers

Grow or make good food in a London borough? The London Food Link team is looking for creators of delicious, ultra-local London produce to feature on this year’s Urban Food Fortnight suppliers list.

Hospital Trust coming under pressure to halt closures

Local campaigners ramp up the pressure to stop kitchen closures at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Tesco sets out sugary drinks reformulation plan

The Children's Food Campaign welcomes Tesco's commitment to reduce the sugar content of its own soft drinks range year-on-year.  One of the big failures of the Government's Responsibility Deal has been the unwillingness of companies to commit to quantifiable pledges - reducing fat, sugar and calories by a specific amount within a specific time frame. Even companies like Coca Cola admit that proper targets, publicly made and held accountable, help override internal resistance to reformulation. Read more...

Brakes sign Fish Cities Pledge

Brakes’ fish pledge means sustainable fish for millions. To celebrate divers at SEA LIFE London Aquarium have fish supper surrounded by turtles and sharks.

Defend the laws that defend our nature

An alliance of 100 nature conservation organisations across Europe including the RSPB, WWF and Friends of the Earth are joining forces to defend the EU Nature Directives which have underpinned conservation in the UK and Europe for the last 30 years. The alliance warns that the European Commission's REFIT 'Fitness Check' of the Birds and Habitats Directives is the single biggest threat to UK and European nature and biodiversity in a generation. The EC has launched a 12-week public internet consultation, open to all. 

15/05/2015
Sustain

Cider producers fight proposed duty change

Sustain members CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) and the Landworkers Alliance want small scale cider and perry producers to get in touch with them to help protect the industry. The EU is proposing to ban the UK's small cider producer duty exemption. This exemption supports very small scale cider and perry makers and banning it could lead to a tax charge that could drive them out of business. CAMRA have organised a petition against the proposal while the Landworkers Alliance want to work with cider and perry makers to make a statement and produce case studies.

15/05/2015
Sustain

The rising cost of a healthy diet

New research carried out by the Overseas Development Institute has compared retail prices in emerging economies (Brazil, China, Korea and Mexico) as well as the UK and the USA. They found that people in newly-rich countries face price hikes of up to 91% in fruit and vegetables compared with a fall in processed foods like cakes and biscuits. The ODI argues this is fuelling obesity epidemics in these countries. These patterns follow a trend set by the USA and the UK where researchers found that ice cream prices have fallen by 50% since 1980 while fruit and vegetable prices have increased by 199%. See also Sustain's work on food poverty.

15/05/2015
Sustain

LEAF accredited by sustainability standards association

Sustain member LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) has achieved full membership of ISEAL (International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling). LEAF promotes Integrated Farm Management to ensure that all LEAF Marque certified farms are producing food to high environmental standards. Their criteria include soil management and fertility, crop health and protection, pollution control, energy efficiency, wildlife and landscape management and animal husbandry. ISEAL is a non-governmental organisation whose mission is to strengthen sustainability standards.See a full list of Sustain members here.  

15/05/2015
Sustain

Real bread in the news

Real Bread Week got off to a flying start in the media, with articles featuring Sustain's Real Bread Campaign in the Financial Times, the Daily Express, BBC Good Food magazine and The Independent. Real Bread Week offers real bread makers the chance to celebrate their craft and real bread lovers the opportunity to support their local real bread bakery. Find out more about how you can celebrate Real Bread Week here.

15/05/2015
Real Bread Campaign

Jamie launches Food Revolution Day

Jamie Oliver has launched a world-wide Food Revolution Day to campaign to put compulsory practical food education on the school curriculum. Jamie wants to see the leaders and governments of all G20 countries to sign up to educating children about food so they can learn the basic skills needed to lead heatlhier, happier lives. You can sign the petition, become an ambassador, download a free lesson plan or even listen to Jamie's Food Revolution rap with Ed Sheeran and others. 
 

15/05/2015
Sustain

FSA Chicken Challenge

The FSA are urging the public to take up the Chicken Challenge as part of Food Safety Week which starts on the 18th May. The Chicken Challenge aims to help people cut their chances of getting campylobacter food poisoning. They want you to promise to store raw chicken separately from other food, not wash raw chicken, wash everything that's touched raw chicken and cook chicken properly. The FSA aims to halve the levels of food poisoning from campylobacter by the end of 2015. That could mean over 100,000 fewer people getting sick. However, campaigners like Professor Tim Lang from (Sustain member) the Centre for Food Policy have urged the FSA to do more to clean up the food industry and the poultry trade by tackling campylobacter in their flocks.

15/05/2015
Sustain

Pig welfare faces EU threat

Sustain member Compassion in World Farming have launched a campaign to stop the EU defining fully slatted flooring for pigs as the best available technique for intensive pig farming. CIWF argue that fully slatted floors are not compatible with good animal welfare. European law requires pigs to have materials like straw in which they can explore, rest comfortably and nest before giving birth. Fully slatted floors can make the provision of straw impossible. In addition
fully slatted floors are already banned or will be phased out in the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.

15/05/2015
Sustain

New fears over soil erosion

A new study recently published in the journal Science says in many places soils are being lost faster than they are naturally being made. At the same time increased pressure on farmland from crops for non-food uses such as  biofuels may create a shortage of inorganic fertiliser. The paper urges more efficient food distribution and better soil management.

15/05/2015
Sustain

An Irish honest crust?

Tying in with the Real Bread Campaign's call for an Honest Crust Act, The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has issued new guidance on the use of words often seen in loaf marketing.

14/05/2015
Sustain

Food and Farming Policies for the new Government

At Sustain we believe the next Government has an opportunity, and a responsibility, to fix a food and farming system which is increasingly unfit for purpose. With the help of Sustain members and projects, we have compiled a list of food and farming policies we would like to see the new Government adopt.

Double Yield: Jobs and sustainable food production

This is a republication of the 1997 report with a new foreword. Double Yield is about getting back something we have lost. We value our countryside, our rural landscapes and wildlife, our rural communities. We value healthy nutritious food and respect for farm animals. Yet we are losing many valued aspects of our natural environments, including meadows, wetlands, woodlands, birds and other wildlife. Increasingly, we no longer trust the food we eat nor believe that all animals are treated fairly.

Good Food at Work

How your organisation can improve the food within your office environment, to benefit staff, and help create a more sustainable food and farming system fit for the future.
09/03/2015
Sustain

Time to come clean about hospital food

Why the government must hand responsibility for monitoring hospital food to an independent body.

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Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.