Saturday, July 28, 2007

Buying imported food may actually be more energy-efficient

Note: Whilst the following article is from Great Britain, it does also provide valid discussion here in the USA with regard to supporting local or imported organic foods. By Alastair Jamieson, The Scotsman, July 18.

FOR the conscientious, food shopping now poses yet another ethical dilemma: is it really better to buy locally rather than shipping meat, fruit and vegetables around the globe?

A conference of experts yesterday heard that importing food from the other side of the world can actually be more energy-efficient than buying British produce and helps developing countries tackle poverty.

The debate threatens to split the organic movement and could leave ordinary shoppers confused as to what to do for the best. It also comes as the Scottish Conservatives launch a "buy local, eat local" campaign to support farmers and reduce food miles - the distance travelled from suppliers to supermarkets.

Dr Alexander Kasterine, of the International Trade Centre, a United Nations agency, told the conference that the UK should cut its carbon emissions rather than ban imported organic produce.

The event was organised by the Soil Association, which certifies organic products and is considering stripping air-freighted goods of organic status on environmental concerns.

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