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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 May 2007, 04:35 GMT 05:35 UK
Organic move to cut food flights
The Soil Association wants food to travel shorter distances
Food flown into the UK may be stripped of organic status in a move being considered by the Soil Association.

The organisation, which certifies which foods are organic, says it is looking at a number of proposals because of concern about greenhouse gas emissions.

It will outline a series of options, including an outright ban, in a consultation document next week.

Other proposals include labels showing a product's country of origin as well as carbon offsetting schemes.

Flying produce into Britain from abroad is the fastest growing form of food transport.

Organic food grown in this country is taken to the supermarket by horse and cart I suppose?
John Strong, Wakefield

And the Soil Association says highly perishable or out-of-season produce make up the bulk of air-freighted organic produce.

But due to growing demands to cut the environmental impact of food distribution, the organisation is now considering five options to reduce the carbon footprint of air-freighted food.

Impact on farmers

These include a campaign to partially or fully deny food imported into the UK by air the right to label itself organic and comprehensive labelling showing a product's country of origin as well as the air miles it has travelled.

However, the Soil Association says that air transport can help developing countries with poor infrastructure to get their goods to markets.

And any decision would have to take into account the impact on farmers in the developing world, it added.

A snap survey of the major supermarkets by the BBC's Breakfast programme found some organic versions of seasonal fruit and vegetables had been imported from as far away as Thailand and Argentina.

But supermarkets say they stock local produce whenever possible.

A Soil Association spokesman explains the proposals

Organic food imports under fire
26 Jan 07 |  Business
Food miles don't go the distance
16 Mar 06 |  Science/Nature
Local food 'greener than organic'
02 Mar 05 |  Science/Nature
Supermarkets defend food sourcing
03 Mar 05 |  Business

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