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UK: Environment secretary on food labelling

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

UK’s Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said that supermarkets and companies needed to label products more clearly to show consumers exactly where their food was coming from. Under current European regulations, a product's country of origin was the place where it had undergone its last significant process, but this could hide where it had really come from. Mr Benn suggested a voluntary labelling scheme for retailers and caterers that would show the country of origin. The Food and Drink Federation, however, said it would be an expensive move to label products like pizza or pies that had a number of ingredients. Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference, Mr Benn said consumers could help boost the agricultural industry by eating healthier, locally produced food that was also more environmentally friendly because of less transport.

Robin Maynard, Soil Association Campaigns Director, commented that Hilary Benn should know there was already a label that delivered what he was calling for: the Soil Association's organic symbol, which offered a 'one-stop shop' for consumers wanting food free from bad ingredients, providing high animal welfare and care for the environment. Given organic farming used 26% less energy to produce the same amount of food as non-organic agriculture, organic farmers would be top contenders for Mr Benn's 'low-carbon farming award'. Robin Maynard continued that it was time the Secretary of State and Defra finally acknowledged that there was a burgeoning body of British farmers doing exactly what he and the public said they want, producing sustainable, climate-friendly food that was what our long-term food security depended on above all.



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