Defra under fire for not sourcing more British produce

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Nina Pullman

BY NINA PULLMAN

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Defra under fire for not sourcing more British produce

New figures show government department has upped the amount of British produce it buys by four per cent

Defra under fire for not sourcing more British produce

Defra secretary Liz Truss is leading a drive to promote British food

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Defra has been criticised after new figures revealed it sources almost half (44 per cent) of its food from overseas despite its campaign to promote British produce.

In response to a written parliamentary question from shadow Defra minister Nick Smith, Defra said its London headquarters sourced 56 per cent of food from British producers between January and March this year, up four per cent on the previous three-month period, ITV News has reported.

In the past, Defra minister Liz Truss has frequently stated her aims to ensure people select British produce as first choice both in the UK abroad.

Smith told the Press Association: "This is disappointing and surprising for a department in the middle of a Great British food drive.

"Defra has been trumpeting how they are going around the globe promoting British food, but they have to also put their own house in order."

Defra minister George Eustice said catering services are provided by a private company, and said the figure includes products such as tea and coffee that are not produced in the UK, ITV reported.

A Defra spokesperson said: “Defra is committed to buying British, which is where 100 per cent of our bacon, sausages, beef, lamb, turkey, cabbage, cauliflowers, swede, carrots, milk and yoghurt come from. We also promote in season British fruit and veg.

“While there will always be foods we have to import, like bananas, tea and coffee, we know more can be done which is why central government have committed to buying fresh, locally sourced, seasonal food by 2017 and Defra launched The Great British Food Campaign to get more people across the country buying British.”

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