'Honest Food' campaign
I've just come back from Birmingham where I addressed the National Farmers' Union conference and launched our 'Honest Food' campaign for clear country of origin labelling. We want to change the current rules that allow a pork pie made in Britain from Danish pork to be labelled as British.
It's not difficult to come across examples of food labels which are at best ambiguous and at worst misleading. Last week my team had an amusing day filming with Clarissa Dickson Wright, one of the two fat ladies, who is supporting our campaign.
We found a Tesco pre-prepared chicken meal for children labelled as 'Produced in the UK'. When we inquired, Tesco admitted that the chicken came from Thailand. Clarissa was unimpressed. You'll be able to see her short film at http://www.honestfoodcampaign.com/ later this week.
The Honest Food campaign has a simple message - people have a right to know where their food comes from. Meat labelled 'British' should be born and bred in Britain, raised to our high welfare standards.
Speaking before me, my opposite number, Hilary Benn, said he wanted to see misleading labels "stamped out". What he meant was that he's still hoping for a voluntary agreement with the supermarkets. But you won't be surprised to know that the Government first announced an agreement ten years ago.
As I told the conference, the food retailers will talk about voluntary agreements until the cows don't come home. The time for talking is over. So Conservatives will be introducing a Parliamentary Bill requiring honest labelling, to restore trust in food and provide the transparency which people rightly expect.
We've made a great short animated video to promote the campaign. It's funny and it gets the point across. Take a look at http://www.honestfoodcampaign.com/ - and pass the link on to your friends.