THE RIGHT to food should be enshrined in law to protect people from Brexit food shortages, according to human rights watchdogs.

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has called for a change in the law to protect from rising food insecurity and the impact of Brexit on food supply across the country.

According to a new report submitted to the Scottish Government, more people are suffering from a lack of food, dietary goals are not being met and more children are living in food poverty than ever before.

Food bank reliance has soared, with providers The Trussel Trust reporting an eleven-fold increase in the number of food parcels they have had to give out over the last five years.

Last year, more than 170,000 three-day food parcels were given out by the charity in Scotland - a rise of 17% compared to the previous year.

The Commission's chairwoman Judith Robertson said Scots law should be following in the footsteps of international legislation, which clearly sets out people's right to food and obligations of Governments to ensure they have it.

She said:" International law is clear that governments have obligations to take action to ensure people’s right to food is realised.

“The Scottish Human Rights Commission is calling on the government to take action to incorporate the right to food into Scotland’s laws as part of its work to make Scotland a 'good food nation'.

"We want to see the Scottish Government showing human rights leadership in a practical way. Bringing this kind of law into force would respond directly to recommendations from the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

“We have the opportunity in Scotland to take a rights based approach to the food system as a whole, and to make people’s right to food more meaningful in practice by putting it into law. There is a real urgency to take these progressive steps now."

The report also explains how Brexit will affect the UK's access to food, and states: "At least 30% of the UK's food imports come from the EU.

"It has been made clear that in the event of the UK leaving the European Union without a deal with the European Union the distribution and cost of food will be significantly impacted."

In December, the Scottish Government launched a consultation on their plans to improve access to good food for the country, including making the right to food legally enforceable.

Launching the consultation, the government stated: "The option of exploring a right to food which is directly enforceable as a matter of Scots law has not been ruled out.

" This consultation proposes that the legislation... will have regard to the international human rights framework, in line with Scotland's well-established human rights obligations.

"Scottish Ministers have already sought to embed food rights at the heart of public policy by continuing to challenge directly the causes of food insecurity. This includes mitigating the impact of UK welfare reform policies such as the bedroom tax, promoting the living wage, and by embedding a rights-based approach in the design and delivery of our new Scottish social security system."

Case study

EMILY and her young son Callum (not their real names) are among thousands in Scotland facing food poverty.

Living in a rural area, the mum said she has to walk six miles with Callum in the buggy to access a low-cost supermarket as taking the bus there would be too expensive.

She relies on food parcels from a parenting organisation to get by every week, and said she regularly struggles for money.

Emily said:" “I get support from a local group where single parents can come and spend time together as well as learning to prepare and cook food.

“My universal credit was delayed and I had 85 pence left in my bank account. I had run out of nappies and wipes and was worried I would have no money for milk or food for my son if it did not come through. I had a food parcel delivered recently and I think I’ll need another this week.

“To reach a low cost supermarket is a three mile walk making it a six mile round trip on foot with my baby in a buggy. To get the bus would cost me five pounds which would take a significant chunk out of my weekly food budget.”