UK Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has called on supermarkets and food companies to give shoppers clearer information on where their food comes from.
He made the call as he urged people to “buy more British and eat more British” and stressed that protecting the environment is vital to increasing food production.
Benn said that while the Government was pressing in Europe to improve labelling so that it shows where an animal is born, reared and slaughtered, he planned to meet food industry representatives to discuss how they could “get ahead here by voluntarily introducing country of origin labelling.”
Food security a priority
The MP praised the quality and quantity of food produced by British farmers and said that food security was a priority in which environmental protection and increasing production went hand in hand.
“The idea that protecting our soil, our water, our habitats, our landscape, and the very climate on which all of these depend , and encouraging production, are in competition with each other is to miss the point completely. Why? Because our long-term food security depends on looking after those things.
“It’s about looking after the land today to sustain our capacity to produce food tomorrow.”
Benn said that British farmers had a key role to play in striking this balance, describing them as “the producers of our food but also the stewards of our land”, and offered to sponsor an award for low carbon farming. He pledged to continue supporting farmers through better regulation and doing “only so much as is necessary”.