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Response to Guardian’s criticism of UK exports

MEDIA RELEASE
November 1, 2006

The Village Press responds to The Guardian’s criticism of its UK exports

Wayne Startup, director of Hawke’s Bay-based extra virgin olive-oil producer The Village Press, says criticism in The Guardian of his product which is exported to top-of-the-range markets in the UK is illogical and unfair.

The Guardian, in an opinion piece entitled Small Crimes against the Planet, said the importation of The Village Press olive oil from the other side of the world was needlessly extravagant and wasteful of resources in a world that should be more environmentally aware. The concept is that of ‘food miles’, designed to promote the consumption of local produce as being more ecologically friendly than imports which used oil and carbon emissions to reach its market.

Mr Startup’s extra virgin olive oil is one of New Zealand’s successes in being featured on the delicatessen shelves of top-of-the-range supermarkets in the UK.

“Our response to the Guardian article is logical and factual because we at The Village Press make as little impact on the earth as possible through the environmentally sustainable way we grow and produce our cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. We send it to the UK by boat which I understand makes far less carbon emissions than the plane,” Mr Startup says.

Mr Startup said the concept of food miles was irrelevant in situations such as the production of olive oil when a country was unable to supply its own needs and had to import to keep up with demand.

“Add to that the fact that The Village Press extra virgin olive oils are not subsidised like most European olive oil producers are and you can see that we feel we have good reason to be proud of our product and the way we produce it.”

ENDS

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