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British prawns go to China then come back again

by the Fish Site Editor
21 May 2007, at 1:00am

UK - Supermarkets and food producers are taking their products on huge journeys, despite pledging to cut their carbon emissions.

Investigations have found that home-grown products are being transported thousands of miles overseas for processing before being put on sale back in Britain.

Scottish prawns are being hand-shelled in China, Atlantic haddock caught off Scotland is being prepared in Poland and Welsh cockles are being sent to Holland to be put in jars before going on sale in Britain.

Meanwhile, products grown overseas are taking circuitous routes to Britain. African-grown coffee is being packed 3,500 miles away in India, Canadian prawns are processed in Iceland, and Bolivian nuts are being packed in Italy.

While ethical consumers have long opted for organic and fair trade products, there is now an increasing focus on cutting “food miles”, which generate unnecessary carbon emissions, contributing to global warming.

David Miliband, the environment secretary, has said he believes environmental labelling will in future be routinely available on products, along with nutritional information.

Supermarkets are working to environmental transport group, said: “We are producing food in one corner of the world, packing it in another and then shipping it somewhere else. It’s mad.”

Dawnfresh, a Scottish seafood company that supplies supermarkets and other large retailers, cut 70 jobs last year after deciding to ship its scampi more than 5,000 miles to China to be shelled by hand, then shipped back to the River Clyde in Scotland and breaded for sale in Britain.

The company said it was forced to make the move by commercial pressures. “This seems a bizarre thing to do but the reality is that the numbers don’t stack up any other way,” said Andrew Stapley, a director. “We are not the first in the industry to have had to do this. Sadly, it’s cheaper to process overseas than in the UK and companies like us are having to do this to remain competitive.”

Haddock is one of the fish most commonly caught by British trawlers, but Tesco sends its Atlantic haddock for processing to Poland where labour costs are lower. It is then driven more than 850 miles to Tesco’s depot in Daventry, Northamptonshire.

Source: Timesonline

the Fish Site Editor