Ruffley's campaign for honest food labelling reveals startling results

Wednesday, 6 May, 2009

David Ruffley MP has today released details of the response to his 'Honest Food' campaign and residents' survey.

Earlier this year David wrote to all the major supermarkets in Bury St Edmunds asking them to outline their policy on the clarity of food labelling, in particular the labelling of items as 'British' when the contents are not sourced from our country.

Some of the key results from David's survey, which has received nearly 120 responses, are as follows:

• 78% of people find it difficult establish the country of origin of a product

• 97% think the country of origin could be more clearly displayed on a product

• 77% of people find it difficult to locate local produce in our supermarkets

• 61% of people do not understand the different welfare labelling schemes such as 'Farm Assured', 'Free Range' or 'Freedom Food'

David said:

'This has been a hugely worthwhile campaign and one that I will continue to pursue. Nearly 120 local residents have replied to my survey which is reasonable response rate and decent sample of opinions.

'One thing is clear from their responses- food labelling is not nearly clear enough. 97 percent of people who replied feel that the country of origin could be more clearly displayed on food products. That is a shocking indictment of the state of food labelling in our country.

'Furthermore, the highly important welfare standards that we find on our food packaging are not easily understood- nearly two thirds of people simply don't know what 'Farm Assured', 'Free Range' or 'Freedom Food' actually means. One of the key things that distinguishes British produce from foreign imports is our welfare standards but if these are not understood how can shoppers make an educated choice?

'I was also alarmed that 77 percent of local people find it difficult to find local produce in our local supermarkets. We simply must support our local farming community- they are the lifeblood of Suffolk and their produce should take centre stage in our supermarkets.

'At the start of the campaign I wrote to all the supermarkets currently open in Bury St Edmunds and while I have been heartened by their response there is still some work to be done. I will be writing once again to all of them outlining the findings of my survey and asking what more they can do to give clarity to the public.'