The UK government has launched what it describes as “a major review” of the country’s food system.

Henry Dimbleby – co-founder of restaurant chain Leon and of the Sustainable Restaurant Association – has been appointed by Environment Secretary Michael Gove to lead the review.

Gove said “the time is right for us to look afresh at our food system to ensure everyone has access to high-quality British food and our environment is protected for future generations”.

Dimbleby will investigate the entire food system and he is charged with considering what changes are needed to ensure that it delivers safe, healthy, affordable food and ensuring it is “robust” in the face of future shocks and “restores and enhances the natural environment for the next generation”.

He is also tasked with ensuring the sector is built upon a “resilient and sustainable” agriculture sector and is a contributor to urban and rural economies,”delivering well paid jobs and supporting innovative producers and manufacturers”.

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By GlobalData

Dimbleby’s recommendations will form the basis of a new national food strategy, set to be published in 2020.

Gove added: “Leaving the EU [European Union] is a great opportunity for British farmers and food producers. But with an expanding population, the urgent threat of climate change and rising levels of diet-related disease, we face many challenges too.”

Dimbleby said: “No part of our economy matters more than food. It is vital to life and shapes our sense of identity.

“But there are urgent challenges with which we must grapple. Populations are growing, diet-related conditions are harming the lives of millions, and climate change is altering what our land will yield.”

Ian Wright, chief executive of the UK’s Food and Drink Federation, said: “Over the last 70 years we have begun to take for granted that there will be food on our table, yet in truth our food and drink industry is a strategic national asset to be protected. It is central to the economic success and cultural fabric of our country and the UK’s largest manufacturing sector. Its contribution to our future growth, prosperity and sustainability is vital.”