The government has pledged to work with the food and farming industry to develop a system of “green” environmental labelling for food.

Speaking at his first NFU annual conference, DEFRA secretary David Miliband said that consumers want to be able to choose food that is good for the planet, as well as good for their health.

“I can envisage the next step where, as well as nutritional standards, environmental standards become the norm on food packaging,” he said.

“This is not an easy piece of work and will take time, particularly if this includes the whole lifecycle impact of food from production to distribution.

“In the shorter term, we want to develop environmental standards for food production. This could cover a range of factors including energy inputs, fertiliser use, soil management waste management and water pollution.

“I want DEFRA to work with producers, retailers, environmental organisations and existing assurance bodies on whether we can agree on a green standard, that informs and empowers consumers and gives farmers recognition in the marketplace.”

For more on the NFU Conference see our NFU AGM Special Report