VEGA News Item

How to Eat Less Meat and Dairy and Live Better - 10/04/2008
A Petition from VEGA presented to an Open Meeting of the FSA Board, in London on Thursday, 10th April.

A Petition from VEGA presented to an Open Meeting of the FSA Board, in London on Thursday, 10th April.

A Challenge to the Food Standards Agency to go Meat-Free and Dairy-Free. The Food Standards Agency Must Face the Unequivocal Challenges from Farm to Fork.

Producers, Retailers, Consumers, Corporate Purchasers and Procurement Agencies need Example and Initiatives for Wholesome Practice, Choices, and Commitment.

We Urge the FSA to Lead with National Eco-Friendly Fridays with Meat-Free and Dairy-Free Fare.

1. “Eat less meat and dairy” is now the unequivocal call of experts in the fields of economics, environment, and health. It summons up special responsibilities over standards and practice and lifestyles for consumers and the Food Standards Agency.

2. It comes as the Meat and Livestock Commission comes to a timely end. “There are massive challenges facing our meat and livestock sectors”, according to Peter Barr, chairman of the just-disbanded MLC.

3. These challenges loom as changes in subsidies and taxes fail to overcome the illthrift, threats of zoonotic and food-borne diseases, and bounding costs of asserting biosecurity against the evils of intensification, waste, and “cheap food” policies.

4. The “Free-From” market in meat-free and dairy-free alternatives is beginning to yield products of general appeal. New product development and comprehensive labelling are catching the shopper’s eye and boosting producers’ and retailers’ interest in research and innovation. They are facilitating changes of habit and custom in the food market.

5. The Food Standards Agency was set up to redress the betrayal of its precursor – a MAFF that had lost the consumers’ confidence in the safety of meat during the BSE crisis (which lingers still) and its feckless disregard for the misgivings of consumers, parents, governors of schools and caterers, and procurement agents for large organisations.

6. The FSA must now exhibit its commitment to the practicable service it can render in its own corporate purchasing as an example and practitioner in reforming lifestyles that well-informed consumers aim at adopting. Imminent elections will increasingly erupt in claims and challenges from candidates and the whole industry from farm to fork.

7. Such interests are already bursting into prominence. Hilary Benn, the present Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is a vegetarian of long standing. Councillors and candidates in the hustings in London are beginning to attest their commitment to meat-free and dairy-free lifestyles. John Gummer MP remains in political life as an agricultural adviser to David Cameron and he has been chosen as co-chair of a Policy Group on Quality of Life issues, despite his disreputable performance during the BSE crisis.

8. The RSPCA at its last AGM and conference celebrated its commitment with a day spent meat-free and dairy-free – and cruelty-free. And why not – when animal welfarists initiated the campaign for Beauty Without Cruelty for soap and toiletries.

9. We commend to the FSA the possibilities in celebrating consumers’ self-discipline and command with a nominated day, for a start: World Food Day, Tuesday, 16th October, this year seems a nice choice. The messages would be reinforced further by reserving days of the week for the observance: perhaps Eco-Friendly Fridays could be Britain’s Free-From Day. On average. Britain’s killing factories slaughter – massacre would be an apter word – 2 million animals every day, seven days of the week. Ousting at least a fraction of the consequent misery and harm would manifest a worthy eco-friendliness in harmony with the FSA’s mission. The nation now needs fitting leadership, example, and practice from the Agency.

10. It expresses consumer power and FSA endeavor nobler than endless delving into the loathsome entrails of a disaster-prone live-deadstock industry. Now is the time to sing the Battle Cry for Free-Froms.

11. For our part we publish on Thursdays weekly recipes for Free-From Days, with nutritional values and profiling to match. They comprise a Portfolio of eating plans with a wide variety of culinary influences and composed of generally-available ingredients. They serve as what must become the format for all cookery books and journalism. They generate power for the consumer and respect for food from farm to fork.

12. We commend such concerted policies to the FSA for urgent consideration and support.


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© VEGA - 2008