This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on food. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

29.01.2015Dairy industry in the UK: Statistics
This note sets out key statistics and current trends for the UK dairy industry. Milk accounted for 16.1% of total agricultural output in the UK in 2013. The number of dairy cows in the UK has declined steadily since 1980. The total has fallen from 3.2 million in 1980 to 1.8 million in 2013: a 45% reduction. Farm-gate milk prices rose from 18p/litre in 2007 to 34p/litre in 2013, and have since fallen to 29p/litre as of November 2014.
02.12.2014Food Waste
Households produce the largest amounts of food waste in the UK. The scale of the problem has been set in recent Parliamentary reports and debates. This note describes further the scale and implications of food waste, and sets out industry and other responses to tackle it.
08.07.2014Worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq
The plight of civilians in Syria may be about to get a lot worse, as drought ravages the region, ISIS takes over much of the River Euphrates and government services threaten to collapse.
23.05.2014EU bibliographies: Food safety legislation: review package
This Note brings together documents relevant to the proposals to strengthen and simplify health and safety standards for the whole agri-food chain and their scrutiny in the UK and EU, published on 6 May 2013. It is not an attempt to define policy in this area. For information on policy developments contact Emma Downing on extn 6787.
20.05.2014The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition
US President Obama launched the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition at the May 2012 G8 summit at Camp David. It aims to address years of underinvestment in agriculture, and to meet the financing gap for global food security, in order to help pull 50 million people out of chronic poverty over 10 years. Critics of the New Alliance question whether it will help poor farmers. and charge that the New Alliance represents a 'new form of colonialism'. The UK Department for International Development (DFID) supports the scheme and has committed 600 million to it.

Research Papers

10.11.2010Sustainable Livestock Bill. Bill 5 of 2010-11 Public Bodies (Sustainable Food) Bill. Bill 12 of 2010-11
The Sustainable Livestock Bill aims to reduce the environmental impacts of livestock production in the UK. It also aims to amend the way agricultural subsidies are used to make them more environmentally friendly. It includes a duty to give consideration to supporting sustainable practices and consumption through public procurement of livestock produce. The Public Bodies (Sustainable Food) Bill would create a duty on the Secretary of State to prepare a Code for Sustainable Food to promote the procurement of healthy and sustainable food by public bodies. This could be made compulsory if uptake was not extensive enough.
02.03.2010Grocery Market Ombudsman Bill [Bill 18 of 2009-10]
The Bill would establish an independent ombudsman for the grocery market to oversee the operation of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice. It would provide for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), within three months of the Bill's enactment, to establish the Office of the Grocery Market Ombudsman and a person as the Grocery Market Ombudsman. Although funded by the OFT, the Ombudsman would be independent of it and would investigate complaints or disputes referred by the OFT, retailers or suppliers. The Ombudsman's determination would be final and binding on all parties and they would have the power to impose monetary penalties and/or costs.
24.04.2008Social Indicators
Social Indicators. [Includes articles on 'Gambling in New South Wales, Australia' and 'A new era for UK official statistics: the launch of the UK Statistics Authority, and Topical Subject Pages on world food prices, the weather in 2007 and excess winter mortality.] House of Commons Library Research Paper 08/37.
16.04.2008Food Products (Marketing to Children) Bill
Food Products (Marketing to Children) Bill. (Bill 19 of 2007-08). House of Commons Library Research Paper 08/35.
19.11.1999Millennium trade talks: food and agriculture issues
Millennium trade talks: food and agriculture issues. House of Commons Library research Paper 99/91

Select Committee Reports

08.11.2011Subsidiarity assessment: distribution of food products to deprived persons.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
19.07.2011Draft Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill.
Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee report [Commons]
27.10.2010Subsidiarity assessment: distribution of food products to deprived persons.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
15.12.2009Nanotechnologies and Food.
Science and Technology Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
14.10.2009Securing food supplies up to 2050.
Government response. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House is concerned that one in five students leaving primary school are now obese and that consumption of sugar has tripled worldwide over the past 50 years; notes that obesity ...
That this House congratulates Kelloggs for its support of foodbanks around the UK; notes that in 2011, Kelloggs supported foodbanks across the UK with 25 tonnes of food, equating to ...
That this House congratulates the House of Commons chefs' football team on successfully retaining The State Opening Challenge Cup after a hard fought 2-2 draw against hon. Members on15 ...
That this House congratulates the Dairy Council in staging the 2011 Ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses, which forms the beginning of the Chelsea Pensioners' traditional Christmas celebrations; ...
That this House welcomes the Countryside Alliance Foundations's report, Honest, Fair, Simple, which calls for mandatory country of origin labelling of all meat products where meat constitutes ...

POST Papers

22.08.2014Phosphate Resources
World food security is dependent on phosphate fertilisers manufactured from finite deposits of phosphate ore. The majority of remaining reserves are restricted to a limited number of countries raising geopolitical risks. This POSTnote describes the uses of phosphate and summarises ways in which dependence on mineral reserves could be reduced.
15.06.2012GM in Agricultural Development
Almost 2 billion people suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. The UK funds research into genetic modification (GM) as one option for agricultural development. This POSTnote examines the potential benefits and challenges of using genetically modified crops to improve food security in developing countries.
Bioenergy is the use of renewable natural material for power, heat and liquid fuels. Currently, the UK sources approximately 3% of its primary energy from bioenergy feedstocks. This POSTnote considers the opportunities and challenges of producing bioenergy sustainably to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets.
15.03.2012Livestock Super Farms
This POSTnote examines the current issues surrounding intensification of livestock production in the UK.
15.09.2011GM crops and food security
This POSTnote examines the potential contribution that genetic modification of crops might bring to increasing food production in Europe, in a global context.
01.11.2010Biofortification of foods, November 2010
This POSTnote describes developments in biofortification, examines its potential impact, and the implications for policy makers in the UK and abroad.


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses