It’s time we forced supermarkets to stop selling foreign food

From: David T Craggs, Tunstall, East Yorkshire.

I FOUND the wording of your recent editorial “High on the Hog” (Yorkshire Post, March 4) interesting. Although I did agree with the article’s general sentiments, one particular question dominated my mind – to whom, or what, do the supermarkets have a duty to act fairly? The farmer? The customer? The shareholder?

No doubt all of these, but perhaps I could suggest another – the country in which they are allowed to operate unhindered, and this should be to ensure the country’s food security, indeed to create in the interests of the country a climate where buying British is actively promoted even, dare I say, enforced wherever possible by the absence of imported food on their shelves unless, like oranges and bananas, they cannot be grown here.

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But it is sheer madness to import green beans from Central Africa, lamb from New Zealand and apples from South Africa when all those products can be produced locally. I wonder if anybody in Government gave any thought at all to the possibility that the Suez Canal could have been closed for a considerable period had the Egyptian crisis gone pear-shaped?

It’s happened before and to our considerable cost, and as fuel prices continue to rise, as they will do, food brought in by air, which I believe is now considerable, will continue to rise in price. How much longer can this practice continue? And when the price becomes prohibitive or the fuel is no longer available, what then?

The supermarkets are now too big to be dictated to by the Government, even if the will was there to do so, which it isn’t, they are in an unbelievably powerful position to dictate policy themselves.

Customers could, of course, take the initiative and insist on only buying British products wherever possible – meat, milk, fruit and vegetables immediately spring to mind. But UK citizens have a poor record when it comes to showing home-grown loyalty, preferring to buy a tasteless French golden delicious in preference to a far superior English cox that happens to cost a few pence more, or tasteless Dutch tomatoes in preference to some slightly more expensive but of superior quality; that have grown just down the road. Spanish strawberries are even worse, but still sell well.

In the interests of the country’s food security, we are all in need of a little education, and since Government is not prepared to take on this role, the supermarkets have a duty to do so.