Anorak News | Trafficking Food

Trafficking Food

by | 4th, January 2007

“MANY people want to eat British whenever possible,” says David Cameron in an address to the Oxford Farming Conference.

And this is not just “out of a sense of solidarity or a desire to limit carbon emissions” (that Kenyan pack of mange tout leaves a dirty green footprint). It is because, as the Times notes, food produced locally often tastes better.

But how to achieve it? We cannot all be part of what the paper terms the “Good Life generation”, turning our balconies and window boxes over to cabbages and chicken farms.

Perhaps we should just harvest from the wild. Although the mushrooms might kill us. As might David Cameron, who has a shotgun and a licence to use it. His spokesman Gabby Bertin tells the Times’s Hugo Rifkind that Cameron still shoots.

What he shoots we are no told, although the paper does speak of grouse and pheasants, and makes no mention of hunting for emu and alligator in a foreign field.

Other than bagging your own lamb and apples, Cameron says we should support the growing market in “local, seasonal and organic produce”. He says “small is vulnerable” and the producers should “consolidate or co-operate”. Form a Cop-op. Or supermarket. That kind of thing.

The Times then indulges in a compare and contrast exercise, looking at the produce on sale in a farmers’ market and goods lining the shelves at a branch of a Sainsbury’s supermarket.

Sainsbury’s stocks apples from China, green beans from Kenya, pears from Italy and cabbage from Spain. All produce on sale at the farmers’ market is made in the UK.

But is the home-made better for you? Just as we are being told to shop locally, the consumer is being advised to eat healthily.

The Guardian introduces the “battle of the labels”. On one side, the green, amber and red corner, is the Food Standards Agency. It wants a traffic lights labelling system.

But a group of manufacturers and retailers say this is no good. It argues that the FSA’s system will discourage shoppers from buying items carrying the red label.

It favours a system showing the “guidance daily amounts” for sugar, fat, saturated fat, salt and calories. But the farming alliance Sustain cites research showing that 47% of adults aren’t bright enough to know what these labels mean.

The solution might be to buy food from the farmers’ market, where it comes unlabelled and wrapped in a plain brown paper bag.

Or get a takeaway…

Posted: 4th, January 2007 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink