Following my cheddar related rant, I was gently surprised to find a little note on my personal facebook profile left by the British Cheese Board. We had a civilised chat, and they’ve agreed to allow me to publish their correspondence to me, providing their side of the argument. Needless to say I still have grave reservations regarding the unintended consequences on focusing the campaign purely on country of origin and not including tradition – but I think I’ve said enough about that for now. So, to avoid appearing to straw-man the BCB, here’s what they wrote:
We appreciate your interaction with our Facebook page, and are always keen for discussion on the issues that we raise as part of our campaigns. However, we wanted to briefly clarify what we were hoping to achieve with our Country Of Origin story. The aim of our campaign was to raise awareness amongst consumers that not all of the cheese they are buying, thinking it to be British, was made in this country. So we wanted to encourage them to check the label of the Cheddar they’re buying. If it doesn’t say on the label that it was produced in the UK (or has other descriptors telling you it was made in the West Country or in Wales, Scotland or any other part of the UK) then it probably wasn’t! At the same time we are calling on Government to introduce compulsory Country of Origin labelling on all dairy products. Many of the value Cheddars simply say packed in the UK – which normally means they were made elsewhere.
We are a great supporter of West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, with a number of our members producing this type of cheese, but we hope you’ll understand that our campaign’s aim was to make British produced cheese accessible to everyone whatever their palette or price range.
Secretary of the British Cheese Board
So there you go. Stay tuned for next week when I call out the National Association of British and Irish Millers, the British Asparagus Growers Association and the European Starch Manufacturers Association for good measure. <—-Witticism: please said organisations don’t take offence thanks.