Clearly British petition: Dairy decisions to back British over the festive season

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NEXT WEEK will mean tills beeping frantically as the final seasonal splurge to get ready for the festivities begins.

As well as the last minute dashes for presents, a big food shop will be on the cards, and with food shop bills bulging to cater for the family piling round, it is a real opportunity to back British food and farming.

From the roasties on our plates, to the carrots, cabbage and parsnips, and the crowning glory if you’re a meat eater - turkey, chicken, game or other - the traditional Christmas dinner plate is full of produce reared to high welfare standards and grown on conservation-friendly farmland in this country.

Buying those British food items is simple but, as The Yorkshire Post continues to raise awareness of through our Clearly British campaign, the same cannot be said when it comes to the dairy products which we also consume in great quantities over Christmas.

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Cheese and cream are two staples of the season’s diet but buying them in full confidence that they are made using British milk is another matter.

The European Commission’s continued reluctance to approve mandatory country of origin labels on dairy products is damaging our abilities to follow our convictions and support British farmers at the shelves.

Confusing oval-shaped health marks only indicate where that cheese or cream was last processed or packaged.

Until more retailers and processors improve the clarity of their labelling - using the Union flag only where the milk is British - the only guaranteed assurance available is the inclusion of the Red Tractor logo on the product’s packaging.

Many retailers and processors label cheese and cream transparently, others don’t, and the Christmas shop is an opportunity to back those where the message is clear.

Unless we, as consumers, show the industry that we want to buy products where the provenance is clearly spelt out, then what motivation is there for the food industry to react and, ultimately, to review import practices that see, for example, 40 per cent of the cheese we consume in this country imported.

Buying British is backing local farmers and that can only be good for the future of a hard-working industry that keeps us fed, for our security as a nation and for the countryside our farmers manage for our enjoyment and benefit.

Sign our Clearly British petition here.