The reasons for this shift and warning despite the UK being 70% self sufficient in food at the moment are growing world population, climate change brining extreme weather conditions, higher fuel costs and crops being grown for bio-fuels and not food. The food security plan has also considered disease to animal stocks, disruption to power supplies, trade disputes and interruptions to shipping and at ports as with increased need more piracy may lead to hazards with importing supplies.
But the British people may not need to worry too much about a meat free diet the most extreme result if the UK had to feed itself may well lead to that level. It would occur if the cereals we currently grow to feed livestock had to be shifted towards human consumption. However, rationing is likely to come in first. We currently have an average intake of 2,800 calories per day compared with 2,100 in the 1960s.
But things may well have to change if climate change leads to reduced water availability how we grow our crops will have to be reconsidered. If trade with a few trading partners Argentina and Brazil dries up for whatever reason our level of meat and poultry would be reduced. Hilary Benn the environment minister said:
"We need a radical rethink in 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 because we live in an interconnected world — where the price of soya in Brazil affects the price of steak at the local supermarket — we need to look at global issues that affect food security here. That’s why we need to consider what food systems should look like in 20 years and what must happen to get there."
So although the news isn't of immediate concern the fact is that we may all need to start to rethink our eating habits. Having stayed the weekend with friends and eaten some of the produce of their back garden like I did a great deal in the 70s from my parents' vegetable patch this sort of thing may become more of a reality in the years ahead, for a lot more people.
However, the report those show the international co-dependency of the food chain and that there are a few cogs that the UK has little to no control over and that if it were to cease up we'll need to look at alternatives. So although I'm well prepared for a vegetarian diet the rest of you will not have to jump that far, just yet.