Back in May I wrote a blog post about whether labelling informs choice with regard to genetically modified food. If the consumer cannot make an informed choice whether to purchase foods with certain characteristics - if we purchase it unknowingly or unwittingly does that engender distrust when we find out?
On a similar theme in August I wrote a post about irradiated food and commented that as a consumer I would definitely like to be able to make the choice between eating irradiated and non-irradiated US produce at retail level and I hoped that labelling on the menu would also extend to food service too.
In discussions on the traceability of Irish pork following the dioxin incident this question of consumer choice (autonomy) comes forward (see the Telegraph). Do we have enough information about the food we are eating. Take the term "British" and I am not arguing this from a xenophopic view-point I am arguing from a view point that I like to know what I am buying. I know it is difficult with a pre-prepared pizza or ready meal to give clarity on the country of origin of the ingredients and you would probably be changing the packaging on a regular basis as sources change through the year but what about fresh or frozen meat? If we buy British meat is that what we are actually buying? What does "British" actually mean? Does the Union Jack on the pack actually mean the animal lived and breathed inside our national borders? This point was raised over six weeks ago in the UK Parliament by Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk. I really urge you to read the speech as it gives a lot of background to the issues.