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Tim Farron

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Farron calls for "honest" system of labelling to protect iconic local sausage

December 10, 2009 12:00 AM

Iconic local products such as the Cumberland and Westmorland sausage should be protected from substandard foreign imports by "honest" country of origin labelling according to Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron MP.

Under current EU law, a large number of products available to British consumers are labelled as British due to them being packaged in the UK, not because they were grown, reared or produced in the UK.

Speaking today in the House of Commons, Mr Farron reiterated his call for the introduction of an Independent Supermarket Regulator with the power to punish supermarkets for any produce they falsely label as "British" and the authority to enforce fair trade within the food chain.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"Yesterday I spoke with my friend Peter Thornton, the owner of the Cumberland and Westmorland sausage company, and Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Penrith and the Border, who like me is appalled that sausages processed in this country from imported meat can be labelled as British.

"Animal welfare standards in Britain are the best in the world, but many of the animals which are imported and then sold as "British" have been reared to standards which we'd consider to be illegal.

"Labelling needs to provide accurate, clear and relevant information so consumers can make an informed choice. People who want to buy great British food want to be certain that is exactly what they are getting.

"Despite some positive signs, it's unlikely that the supermarkets will introduce the necessary measures themselves. That's why it's vital that the Government introduce a genuinely Independent Food Market Regulator to enforce the honest labelling of food and also to match the excellent standards of British farming."