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House of Commons Hansard
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13 October 2016
Volume 615
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6. What plans she has to promote (a) local and (b) British produce through food labelling. [906546]

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It is fantastic that local food producers are developing labelling to highlight local food provenance, which really adds value to their products for the regional and tourist markets. As I said earlier, we want to do everything we can really to promote the British food brand. I am firmly committed to protecting the UK’s iconic food and drink products.

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Mr Speaker, you might think of Newcastle upon Tyne Central as an urban constituency, but actually we produce excellent beef from the lucky cattle that graze the nutritious grass on the stunning Town Moor. We are developing Toon Beef labels, but labelling generally needs to be better if consumers are to make informed choices. What practical measures is she taking to ensure that the voluntary and mandatory requirements she spoke of reflect regional origin and animal welfare?

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We are very proud that the UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, the best food traceability and the best food safety. The hon. Lady is exactly right to point out the importance of labelling. We are doing everything we can. There is a lot of mandatory labelling, as she will be aware, but we also do a lot of work with businesses that want to label voluntarily, particularly for our iconic food products. I did a bit of research and found north-east Craster kippers, Wylam golden ale and other iconic names. I encourage her to apply for protected name status wherever possible, and we intend to support that.

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This week is Seafood Week. Will my right hon. Friend outline what her Department has done to promote Seafood Week? I urge her to return to Cleethorpes so that we can have a less rushed plate of fish and chips than we had on her last visit.

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I am always delighted to visit my hon. Friend’s constituency, because he always has something exciting in store for me. During Seafood Week we have established a working group with different seafood organisations. We are absolutely committed to promoting it, as we are with all our great British food. As I have mentioned, I am off to the Paris food exhibition and the China food exhibition to see what more we can do for our great British seafood and other food.