Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | October 27, 2007

Flown-in food may lose organic status

Food flown into Britain could lose its organic status under plans being considered by the Soil Association.
The group, which certifies which foods are organic, is looking at a range of proposals in a bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions from flights – a major cause of climate change.
The options include:     
A partial or outright ban on calling air-freighted food organic;
Labelling food with the air miles it has travelled; or
Insisting that all flights be carbon offset.
To be labelled “organic” in Britain, crops must be grown with severely restricted artificial fertilizers and pesticides, and livestock without hormones and drugs. But the term does not require the fair treatment of workers or sustainable transport.

Soil Association campaigns director Robin Maynard said Britain is already growing 70 per cent of the organic food it can potentially produce.
“Supermarkets have responded to Soil Association and consumer pressure. That has transformed their behaviour.”
But he recognized that the proposals would also affect small farmers, especially those in developing countries who depend on air transport to get their goods to market.
“It could have a very significant effect on some people’s businesses and livelihoods.”
He added: “There are a lot of people to talk to. It’s a complex issue, not one we want to make decisions on lightly.”
The plans will be set out in a consultation document to be published this week. Supermarkets, registered organic producers in Britain and abroad, and groups like Oxfam will have the chance to respond in the coming months.
Also today, Tesco has apologized after government tests showed it missold ordinary chicken as premium-priced “corn-fed” poultry.
The supermarket giant said this was a “completely unacceptable” mistake caused by a farmer accidentally giving his chickens the wrong feed. The error only lasted a short time, it added.
Scientists at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Central Science Laboratory in York found the Tesco chicken had not consumed enough maize to meet minimum European Union requirements.
 related source:

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