Food for thought

LOCAL produce. It’s not that complicated a term, is it? Most would consider it self-explanatory but it is also now fashionable, and thereby profitable, and once the marketing gurus start playing with words, the consumer soon discovers their Welsh lamb was born in a New Zealand field.

The celebrity chef boom in Britain has meant cookery programmes fill the television schedules and they share one thing in common – a welcome desire to champion local produce. But when Jamie Oliver says “buy local”, he does not mean Somerset butter from Scotland.

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This region has many famous food names – Wensleydale Cheese and Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb for example – and this week the Cornish Pasty secured special protection.

But this excellent work could be undone if customers lose confidence by being misled by “local food” labels. Until these loopholes are closed, customers have two options – check the small print on supermarket groceries to make sure they’re being honest or, better still, pop to your local butcher who can name the farm that supplies his bacon. It’s unlikely to be in Denmark.