Controversial start to World Fruit and Veg Show

Fresh Produce Consortium chief Nigel Jenney has defended air freighted produce as vital to improving the nation's health, marking a controversial start to this week's World Fruit and Vegetable Show in London.

Air-freighted produce, EU pesticide proposals and other legislative challenges facing the sector will lead the agenda at the show, taking place at the Excel International Conference Centre over the next two days (8-9 October).

Speaking at the opening debate this morning (8 October) - Competing Pressures for Land and Food Miles - FPC chief executive Nigel Jenney called for a level-headed view on air freighted produce in the UK.

Jenney dismissed concerns over the carbon emissions generated and said air-freighted produce was a major catalyst to ensuring the nation's health:

"Let's keep air freight in perspective. There is no evidence that fewer aircraft would fly if consumption of imported fruit and vegetables was reduced.

"Both government and the food industry, through its Eat in Colour campaign, are making vast efforts to encourage higher consumption of fruit and vegetables among the proportion of the population who still find 5-a-day a daunting prospect.

"With rising obesity levels and poor diet among children we should not do anything which threatens to make a large section of the grocery aisle out of bounds."

Jenney called for a shift in emphasis from the ‘confusing' concept of food miles, to the carbon footprint of the whole supply chain.

The Fresh Produce Consortium will lead an information seminar tomorrow (9 October) which will offer the latest advice and information on topical issues, covers MRL regulations, marketing standards, EU proposals on crop protection products, PEACH and the International Trade Single Window, with contributions from FPC, the Rural Payments Agency and Defra.

For more coverage of the event see next week's issue of Grower (17 October).

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