Therese Coffey has drawn criticism for advising people who are having trouble making ends meet to work harder or upgrade their skills in order to earn more money.
The environment secretary was accused of blaming people's lack of access to food on their low wages by Labour MP Rachael Maskell.
She said, "It's time her government helped families in need instead of making them work harder for a crust.".
Grocery prices are 16 point 7 percent higher than they were a year ago, marking the highest level of food inflation in 45 years.
Ms. Maskell informed lawmakers that food banks in her York district were running low on supplies during a question period in the House of Commons, and she enquired as to what the government was doing "to ensure that no one goes without.".
Although the UK had "one of the lowest proportions of incomes being spent on food" in Europe, Ms. Coffey acknowledged that inflation was "really tough at the moment.".
In addition to the £842 million Household Support Fund, she said, people could also use it. She continued, "We know that one of the best ways for people to boost their income is not only to get into work if they are not already in work, but to work more hours or get upskilled to get a higher income. ".
Following the Q&A, Ms. Maskell stated: "It is shocking that the environment secretary shifted blame for food poverty onto people because they are on low wages and are poor, expecting them to work even more hours to put food on the table. ".
Nadia Whittome, a different Labour MP, claimed the remarks demonstrated how completely out of touch the government was with the working class.
Turnips were suggested by Ms. Coffey as a substitute for seasonal vegetables that are in short supply in stores, and this suggestion has also drawn criticism.
Due to supply issues that were partly brought on by the extreme weather in Spain and North Africa, Asda, Morrisons, Aldi, and Tesco have restricted sales of a number of fruits and vegetables.
Ms. Coffey predicted that the situation would persist for a further two to four weeks and mentioned that ministers were speaking with retailers about how to prevent future issues.
Selaine Saxby, a Conservative MP, said during an urgent question on the subject that consumers could avoid problems by "eating more seasonally and supporting our own British farmers.".
In response, Ms. Coffey said: "Many people would be eating turnips right now rather than necessarily thinking about lettuce, tomatoes, and other things.
"However, I am aware that consumers want year-round variety, and our supermarkets, food producers, and growers worldwide work to provide it. ".
In reference to 18th-century French queen Marie Antionette, who allegedly responded to worries that the populace had no bread by saying: "Let them eat cake," Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey summarized the minister's response as "let them eat turnips.". ".
According to a prime minister's spokesman, the secretary of state stressed the value of recognizing the food that is grown in the UK. ".
He continued, "We don't think it's for us to tell people what they should or shouldn't buy.