Campaign to Protect Rural England Standing up for your countryside

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England's food supply chain must be transparent

15 February 2013

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is calling on the Government and supermarkets to take action to restore people’s trust in the food chain by making it easier to trace where their food has come from and how it has been produced.

Over time, our changing shopping habits means we have lost sight of where and how much of the food we eat is produced and by whom. The message from the major food retailers and the Government has been that we could rely upon them to take care of long supply chains to provide us with low cost, safe food. Recent political rhetoric has claimed this could be achieved with even less regulation.

CPRE’s work to map local food webs has demonstrated that a major advantage of short local supply chains is that consumers can more easily find out where their food has come from and how it has been produced. There can often be just a few links in a local food supply chain between the producer and the consumer. But given the dominance of the supermarkets, who supply over 90% of the food that is bought in the UK, it is vital that from now on they do more to provide consumers with information about exactly where the food we eat has been grown, reared, slaughtered and processed. This information has often been scarce and too hard to find.

Ian Woodhurst, CPRE’s Senior Food and Farming Campaigner said:

‘CPRE has often encouraged shoppers to ask more questions about where the food they are buying has come from. Supermarkets shout loudly about where they source their packaged fresh meat, but have been much quieter about the Grand Tour of Europe that their processed meat has been doing.

'As a first step in restoring trust in our food system it needs to be easier for consumers to find out about where their food came from and a regulatory framework needs to be developed that provides them with guarantees about quality and that prevents a repeat of recent events.

'The Government and the supermarkets have a lot of work to do to restore consumer faith in a food system that has clearly become seriously dysfunctional.’





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