British industry body Seafish criticized a food strategy report for its lack of focus on seafood.
The National Food Strategy report, commissioned by the UK government and led by businessman Henry Dimbleby – co-founder of restaurant chain Leon – was released last week. He called for a tax on sugar and salt and for allowing general practitioners to prescribe fruits and vegetables to encourage healthy eating.
Marcus Coleman, CEO of Seafish, the body that supports the UK seafood industry, acknowledged that the report was both interesting and well researched, with excellent information on the social challenges associated with the UK food system.
But he added: “I was surprised that the role seafood can play in addressing these challenges is not being addressed. Seafood is sidelined with a one-line explanation on page 6 (in the report): We have deliberately focused our attention on the land. “
He continued: “We are disappointed that the positive attributes of seafood are not featured more prominently in the report.
“After all, the nation eats over four billion seafood meals each year. For us, it is clear that seafood has a vital role to play – both in providing a healthy source of food and in future food security.
“Many in the seafood industry wake up every morning because we truly believe ‘seafood is the way to go’. It’s not just a smart slogan; that’s our reason for being, because when the seafood industry thrives, the whole nation thrives.
Coleman said: “Sustainable aquaculture also offers another way to meet the food needs of our growing population while providing broader environmental benefits such as improved water quality and carbon storage.
He pointed out that the seafood processing sector is investing in research to reduce the use of single-use plastics and ensure that packaging used to transport seafood can be recycled.
“Those of us who work in the seafood business know all about the overwhelmingly positive contribution that seafood can make. It contributes to healthy diets (and reduces health costs), has a lower environmental impact than other animal proteins and supports sustainable coastal communities, ”he said.