Harry Wallop
March 21, 2009

Prof Tim Lang said people needed to wake up to how much water farmers and food factories use in producing staple goods, particularly meat, coffee and milk, saying the threat to Britain’s food chain from its water footprint is just as great as its carbon footprint.

[efoods]A return to rationing, though “almost unthinkable” in peace time, cannot be ruled out, he warns. While such direct Government intervention would be a very last resort, indirect “editing” of people’s diets by supermarkets and central Government is essential, he said.

Prof Lang, speaking to The Daily Telegraph on the publication of his latest book ‘Food Policy’, is mid-way through a project to ascertain what constitutes the perfect “sustainable diet”.

His team at City University London is trying to come up with a system to help consumers navigate the minefield of shopping for food that is nutritious, ethical and sustainable.

He is aiming to definitively ascertain whether, for example, a Fair Trade banana from Costa Rica is as “sustainable” as a lamb shank from Wales, or a high-fat ready meal.

Prof Lang, who coined the term “food miles” more than a decade ago, now believes that overuse of water is the biggest threat facing Britain’s food chain.

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