Australia lagging behind on food policy: Report

Experts have called on Australia to overhaul its food system so as to improve the nation's health, reports Xinhua. 

In a report published on Thursday, the Australian National University and the Commission for the Human Future made a series of recommendations on how to reform Australia's food policy. 

It found that the negative impacts of the current food system was costing the Australian economy 87 billion Australian dollars (63.7 billion U.S. dollars) per year, including 62 billion Australian dollars (45.4 billion U.S. dollars) from obesity, 21 billion Australian dollars (15.3 billion U.S. dollars) from food waste and 4 billion Australia dollars (2.9 billion U.S. dollars) from lost agricultural productivity. 

It criticized the federal government for "lagging behind Western partners on food policy" and made seven reform recommendations across governance, urban food production, industry policy, nutrition, research and education, soil health and water management. 

According to the report, which was produced by 45 experts, the reforms would guarantee the security of 1 million jobs and grow the value of the food chain. 

"Food is the most interconnected policy issue any government faces. It touches on just about every major policy portfolio. But no one in government owns it," Paul Barratt, deputy chairman of the Commission for the Human Future, said in a media release. 

"Meanwhile, Australia and its people continue to suffer poor health, environmental and economic results. The government must lead and drive national efforts towards a system that benefits all participants in the food supply chain." 

"We propose a strategic food policy based on four pillars; health, sustainability, economic viability and resilience. In the short run, there may need to be trade-offs between them. But in the long-run, they mutually reinforce to benefit all Australians -- farmers, producers, processors, retailers, employees, communities and individuals."