5 October 1999
Mole Valley bans French wine

By FWi staff

A CHAIN of supermarkets run by Mole Valley Farmers, the farmer-owned co-operative in the south-west of England, has removed French wine from its shelves.

The move came yesterday as Agriculture Minister Nick Brown urged the public to boycott French food in retaliation for the ban by France on British beef.

But with larger retail chains saying they cant follow his lead, there have been threats of picketing from disgruntled farmers.

The possibility of a tit-for-tat boycott on French goods was examined on this mornings edition of Radio 4s Farming Today programme.

David Hill who farms at Okehampton, Devon said: “We have to bring it home to the housewife that there is a problem with French produce.

“If the housewife does not say `non to French produce, she is in danger of saying `adieu to the finest beef in the world.”

But others fear direct action could make escalate the situation, endangering lamb exports to France.

Jim Walker, Scottish Farmers Union president warned: “If French farmers anything to go by, anything we can do by direct action they can do better.

“Its a very dangerous game to play. The last thing we want is French ports banning imports from UK.”

Philip Whitehead, MEP and Labour spokesman on food safety said the French were peeved that in reorganisation of European Commission they lost the directorate general of agriculture.