CONSUMER FIGHTBACK URGED BY ONLY BUYING LOCAL FOOD
09:00 - 08 November 2002
Local campaigners have expressed their fury at an
"agreement which flies in
the face" of British farmers.
Chris Bradford, co-ordinator of the Rural
Development Agency's Buy Local
programme, said the deal will exacerbate
already existing problems in
the farming industry.
He explained: "We
are getting all this talk about promoting local
produce as a way forward and
then the Government turns its back on us,
promoting the sale of foreign food
at such a costly expense. What can we
understand of this?
just one way of fighting the Government back and that is by
buying only local
Michael Hart, chairman of the Small and Family Farms Alliance,
encouraged consumers to buy local.
He said: "Farmers don't want
subsidies, but a fair share of the retail
price and fair
"The deal which Britain has struck with Thailand is a clear
we are unwanted and expendable. Will imports of food from
subject to the same food safety, animal welfare and
standards as those expected by law of UK farmers?
very much doubt it with the record of imported eggs from Spain when
people in the Midlands died of salmonella.
"I find it unbelievable that
at a time when farming in the UK has such
major problems that our own
government is going to promote sales of Thai
agricultural produce in direct
competition with UK farmers.
"How many other deals has this government
done like this? I know
agriculture has a multifunctional role with food
environmental care, but I didn't know that role included
Angela Browning, Conservative MP for Tiverton and
Honiton and former
farming minister, said there were "real concerns" about
the health and
welfare standards of meat, particularly Thai
The European Union is responsible for policing European food
standards on exporting countries outside the EU. But many
that the enforcement process is practically impossible and
standards were properly enforced the price advantage enjoyed
countries outside the EU would vanish. Mrs Browning said she was
satisfied that existing checks could guarantee that countries
Europe were producing meat to the same high standards as within the
But she said that lax labelling laws meant that consumers could
always identify where meat had been sourced, particularly in
products. She said: "There are some parts of the world where there
real concerns about the way food is produced, in terms of things
welfare standards and the use of growth hormones. When I was
agriculture minister, for example, we were constantly having to
the Chinese government about the things going into the chickens
were exporting. It would make me very concerned if there were more
this meat appearing on our shelves.
"It is all very well to try to
source the cheapest of the cheap, but
most people are looking for the
reassurances on quality and safety that
come with British standards. There
does not seem to be a thorough enough
checking system on imports to guarantee
those standards. As someone with
experience in these matters I try to source
British and source locally."