Food miles debate at risk of 'over-simplification'
A leading charity has warned the over-simplifying the debate over the sustainability of food produced for sale in the UK could have a negative effect on poor farmers in the developing world.
Oxfam has claimed that consumers making the decision not to purchase food due to it having travelled for long distances may not take into account the carbon emissions from a more locally-produced alternative.
And as a result they called for more to be done by retailers and the government to ensure that consumers are given as much information as possible relating to the sustainability of a food's production when making their purchasing decision.
"Oversimplified concepts about how to tackle climate change are not only failing to give consumers the whole picture, but jeopardising the livelihoods of people who are already facing terrific challenges due to climate change," argued Oxfam's head of research, Duncan Green.
"The food miles debate needs to be looked at again to ensure consumers have the information they need to buy green without undermining the, often fragile, livelihoods of poor farmers around the world."
To prove its point, the charity cited the example of roses grown under lights in Holland producing six times as many carbon emissions as those grown outdoors in Kenya and flown to the UK.
Article Date: 03 March 2008
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