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Environmental labelling will help level playing for British farmers - Farron

March 24, 2009 4:54 PM

The findings of a parliamentary report calling for clearer environmental food labelling would help level the playing field for British farmers according to Liberal Democrat Defra spokesperson Tim Farron.

On Monday the Environmental Audit Committee recommended the adoption of a 'traffic light' labelling system which would provide simple environmental information on produce. The indicators would include factors such as carbon output, impact on biodiversity and impact on water resources.

Mr Farron believes the recommendation is an opportunity to champion the quality of British farming by emphasising the benefits of buying local produce. Under the scheme, the environmental impact of buying food that has been transported over long distances would be made clear on the packaging.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"All the recent talk about labelling has rightly focused on providing consumers with information about where their produce is sourced from. But any move to introduce country of origin labelling without a similar system of environmental information would be a huge missed opportunity.

"It's important we put an end to the myth that British farmers are bad for the environment by showing consumers the environmental benefits of eating locally sourced produce instead of food that has been grown, packaged and sold from a factory thousands of miles away.

"Environmental labelling and certification schemes offer an opportunity for consumers to make environmentally sound choices every day and so drive the process of choice-editing themselves, encouraging retailers to stock more local products with better ratings and de-list the worst performers. This can only be for the benefit of British farmers.

"Instead of beating the same old drum like the other two parties, the Liberal Democrats' are prepared to put forward a food labelling scheme incorporating innovative ideas like environmental output so that British farmers are rewarded for the outstanding quality they produce."