Best of British? Our food's real identity
So is the EU finally going to haul down the flag of convenience under which so many food products are surreptitiously sneaked into our homes?
The signs are promising. In the latest draft of its Agricultural Product Quality paper, the agriculture directorate says all European Union agricultural products should carry a compulsory "place of farming" label.
In other words, if you or I buy a bit of chicken which has merely been gussied up with some curry sauce at a British processing plant, the packaging should clearly inform us whether the contents originated on a British farm or otherwise.
As things stand, chicken from anywhere in the world can acquire British nationality even if it undergoes the most rudimentary process – as basic as cutting up – somewhere within these shores.
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The practice aggrieves farmers who have been consistently undercut by imports made cheap by lower production and welfare standards than those which obtain here, but which have appeared alongside their own looking as British as red phone boxes.
And it has also outraged the growing number of shoppers who are consciously making an effort to buy British – but are now discovering how many apparently British products are anything but.
The same desire to play the patriotism card when buying food also appears to be gaining strength in other member states, which is why, I suspect, the Eurocrats have been forced to do something about it.
No one, however, should take it as read that the regulation will be adopted. There are very big sums of money involved here and it's almost inevitable that some furious lobbying will be going on to persuade MEPs that such a ruling would actually work against someone's interests, rather than closing off a loophole that has been shamelessly exploited for so long.
Meanwhile, an old and valued contact has drawn my attention to the current advertising campaign for McDonalds in which it boasts of the "Cornish" bacon it is using in certain items in its range. As he points out, they do indeed raise a few pigs in Cornwall, but the county has not, hitherto, been regarded as the hub of the British bacon sector. Yet quite a sizeable operation would be required, surely, to supply the hundreds of McDonalds outlets.
However, Cornwall is home to a processing plant owned by Tulip, the Danish food group. And, of course, as the regulations stand, any pig could legally be turned into Cornish bacon there, whether it had been brought up eating pasties on Bodmin Moor – or was in the habit of grunting with a faint Scandinavian accent…