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NFUS Pleased with Results of FSA COOL Survey

by 5m Editor
4 February 2010, at 8:40am

SCOTLAND, UK - NFU Scotland yesterday welcomed the results of a Food Standards Agency (FSA) nation-wide consumer survey, which has suggested that the importance of accurate Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) is of growing importance to Scottish consumers.

As well as looking at COOL, the Scottish consumer forums discussed wider issues of food safety, making healthy and sustainable food choices, cost and accessibility. Now in its second year, the citizens’ forums were designed to gauge consumers’ views on the National Food and Drink Policy for Scotland, as well as promote the core agenda of the FSA – safe food and healthy eating for all.

Commenting on the results of the survey, NFU Scotland President, Jim McLaren said, “Overall, the results of the survey are extremely positive. While there are still some barriers to cross as an industry, it is encouraging that the reputation Scotland has for quality produce is front and centre and growing every year.

“The survey suggests that there are a number of factors that are encouraging Scottish consumers to buy locally. Among these were the guarantee of quality and freshness of the item, supporting the local economy, environmental concerns, concerns about animal welfare standards in comparison to other countries and safety of a familiar local source.

“Fortunately, Scottish farmers have a great story to tell in these areas and tick all the boxes by producing fantastic food and drink right on our doorstep. They are also taking great care of our countryside, and maintaining some of the highest animal welfare standards in the World. Where we need greater support as an industry, however, is on the issue of COOL.

“As expected, the survey indicates that as well as price and value for money, COOL is of increasing importance to consumers – which is good news. As awareness of COOL grows, we must keep working together, as an industry, to ensure that labelling is clear and in no way misleading and have that supported through the necessary legislation at European, UK or Scottish level. The definition of ‘last significant change’ when described to consumers was met with confusion. The rules on COOL must be clearly set out so that consumers can understand exactly how origin is defined and make informed decisions about what they are choosing to put into their trolleys.

“NFU Scotland welcomes the results of this survey as it shows increasing awareness of COOL and a continued commitment by consumers to want to support their local farmers and producers by buying their produce. As an industry we must help them to do that by continuing to campaign for the provision of clear and accurate food labelling through appropriate legislation.”