The chairman of the International Egg Commission (IEC) warned delegates to be cautious against being misused in the current carbon footprint debate, at last month’s IEC conference.

Willi Kallhammer, IEC chairman, told attendees at the conference in London that, in his opinion, carbon dioxide had replaced the H5N1 avian flu virus as the new global villain.  “Some analysis from the arguments is very demagogic [appealing to people’s emotions in a politically manipulative way].  When I look at some of the statements it reminds me of PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals]. 

“The problem with the studies is who is benefiting?  We cannot escape it.  Politicians and supermarkets like to put on the green coat.  It’s a good line.  There are always new fads, scares, villains, and at the moment it’s carbon dioxide.  We need to look at it with a balance sheet.”

While Charles Bourns, NFU poultry board chairman, responded to Mr Kallhammer’s comments by stating that retailers are taking carbon emissions extremely seriously and analysing its suppliers’ carbon footprint on a purely scientific basis.  He said: “Walmart is the main driver of food miles.  Retailers are not doing it in a ‘Micky Mouse’ way, it’s done scientifically.  The problem is where do you start and where do you end?”