29 September 2000

Chef gives MAFF a blast

CELEBRITY chef and food writer Michael Barry this week attacked MAFF for failing to make the public aware that British farmers have to operate to higher standards than many of their foreign competitors.

Speaking after opening a local food promotion event in Devon, Mr Barry – "born and reared on a farm" – said most British farms could not compete on price in world commodity markets for reasons of field and farm size as well as legally enforced higher production standards for welfare and feed ingredients.

Mr Barry emphasised that it was the more attractive farming areas, such as Devon, which most needed to convince the public that local food was worth paying a bit more for.

But that would need "serious" money and needed the whole-hearted support of the government, he said. He then resorted to expletives to describe MAFF officials, whom he said only seemed to exist to say repeatedly that there was no money available to help farmers with marketing.

He added that farmers too had been very slow to wake up to the fact that the consumer was boss and the farmers job did not end at the farm gate. &#42

Chef Michael Barry said MAFF should promote British food.