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Food: National Security

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 7th February 2019.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural affairs, if the Government will make an assessment of the importance of food security to wider national security.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), Government Whip

Food is one of the 13 Critical National Infrastructure sectors in the UK. The UK’s Critical Infrastructure is defined by the Government as:

‘Those critical elements of Infrastructure (facilities, systems, sites, property, information, people, networks and processes), the loss or compromise of which would result in major detrimental impact on the availability, delivery or integrity of essential services, leading to severe economic or social consequences or to loss of life.’

Defra, as the lead Government Department for food, produces an annual Sector Security and Resilience Plan which covers risk to food supply from natural hazards and malicious threats, including Physical, Personnel, and Cyber risks. A public summary of the plan is published on GOV.UK.

The UK Food sector has a highly effective and resilient food supply chain, owing to the size, geographic diversity and competitive nature of the industry. Although there is recognised dependency on other critical services such as fuel, energy, transport and communications, the resilience of the sector has been demonstrated by its response to potentially disruptive challenges in recent years. Government and the sector will continue to work together to ensure the resilience of food supply.

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