Saturday, 10 February 2007
How Hungary are you for Turkey?
The latest news that bird flu may have arrived on "partly processed carcasses from Hungary" must raise into the spotlight the outrage of British food labelling that I touched on this week.
If a food item says "British" it doesn't mean it is British.
Meat that is imported from overseas and only finishes its processing in the UK can be labelled as "British" in our supermarkets. This is only illegal if the label can be proved to be put there with the "intention of misleading the public" - a qualification that is incredibly difficult to prove.
This sort of labelling law does not give consumers the information they deserve. It also fails to support British producers. David Cameron raised this issue in a speech only last month and I hope that a change in food labelling will be part of the next Conservative manifesto.
As a child we kept Turkeys - I may be the only Conservative party candidate who has actually done so. They don't make good pets - but I do like roast turkey and I do want to support local producers.
If food carries a "little red tractor" label, then at least the consumer knows the food meets certain standards. I would like this to be the minimum standard for my children's school dinners.
I for one will be looking out for the red tractor on the food I buy, or better still buying from my local butcher.