Ag industry opposes Defra’s green label scheme

17-08-2009 | |

Defra’s plans to introduce a labelling system to show the environmental credentials of food have generated concern amongst farming and animal welfare groups.

The scheme which is being considered as part of a public consultation on UK food security, aims to help consumers buy more environmentally-sustainable products. Ministers are considering whether food packaging should carry labels indicating animal welfare, how far food has travelled and whether chemicals were involved in its production. The scheme would also include a traffic light symbol to show how healthy food is.

Food and farming minister Jim Fitzpatrick admitted deciding whether something was environmentally-friendly or not would be complex. Any green labelling system had to be simple enough for consumers to understand, but not create extra packaging or cost producers “an arm and a leg”, he added. But with more than 20 food kitemark schemes already used in the UK, industry groups warned an extra system could confuse consumers.

“It’s a crowded market place for food labelling schemes already and I wouldn’t say there’s a need for something extra,” said Dominic Dyer, Crop Protection Agency chief executive.