Sunday, January 9, 2011


Is it not an irony of history that Britishers who ruled a number of countries as a colonial power till the first half of last millennium, sucking blood out of their subjects, now wants to shun food products coming from some of these very same countries through discriminatory policies? The present move to make the food industry in that country declare on the label the country of origin of the products manufactured by them is highly deplorable and the WTO must slam this move as a non-technical barrier to free trade. It is good to be patriotic and persuade citizens to buy locally made products so that the industry there develops properly providing ample employment opportunities. But carrying this philosophy too far can hurt the world trade and will certainly attract punitive measures from the affected countries who export their products to UK.

"This retailer commitment should mean that if it says British on the label then it's British in the packet and that is a huge step in the right direction," she said. She said NFUS was still hopeful Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) would be made a legal requirement at UK and EU level across a wider range of products than those that currently qualify - beef, veal, some fruit and vegetables and eggs. "Ahead of further statutory requirements, we hope that retailers fulfil the pledges made in this initiative, particularly its extension from fresh meat into processed meat products," she said. Announcing that seven major UK retailers have signed up to the guidance, British Retail Consortium food director Andrew Opie, said many grocers already go well beyond the 'high minimum standards set out in the document'. "Supermarkets are making it easy for those shoppers who want to buy British to do so. Other food service providers need to up their game," he said. The guidelines were drawn up by the BRC with other food organisations, including the British Meat Processors Association(BMPA) and the Food and Drink Federation. BMPA director Stephen Rossides said: "Where country of origin labelling is used on meat and meat products, it should be clear, honest and not mislead consumers. The BMPA urges its member companies to follow these principles and guidelines where they apply country of origin labelling". FDF Director of Communications Julian Hunt said: "We agree that consumers should not be misled with regard to the origin of a food product and our members are committed to providing clear, honest labelling." Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice, who has had a role in encouraging development of the voluntary guidance, said: "This industry code will give consumers confidence to know, for example, that if it says British on the label, it's British in the packet. Lots of food companies already do this but it's about spreading that good practice."

Why a consumer should be concerned with the country of origin if the food products manufactured by the British food industry conform to all the safety standards, evolved and administered by the safety authorities in their own country? Why is that Chinese consumer products are flooding the markets all over the world, though quality wise they are much inferior to those manufactured in western countries?. It is simply the low price which lures the consumer to such products. It is up to the country which imports these low cost products to exercise vigil on imports so that sub-standard products do not enter the country. If all the countries in the world shun British products as a retaliatory measure what will happen to their economy? Those who campaign for country of origin label must ponder over the global repercussions of such a stupid policy.


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