Climate-Labeled Tomatoes? Nej, Tack Says Swedish Certifying Agency

Hothouse Tomatoes photo

Tomato plant in the hothouse via sylvar @ flickr.

For a year or so, the idea of labeling foods to indicate their climate footprint was all the rage, and the Swedish KRAV organic labeling organization, spurred on by the Swedish state, jumped in with both feet, promising that by this year a number of vegetables with climate labeling would begin to make their way onto the produce shelves. Well, guess what. The Swedes have as much as admitted that climate labeling, is well, just too hard!Consumers wanted climate-smart labels
KRAV started in 2007 to work on making rules for "climate smart" food production. When the work started, the idea was to affix a new label to foods to tell consumers which were the choices that had the least amount of greenhouse gas impacts.

But KRAV fairly quickly realized how time-consuming and difficult (read also: expensive) it would be to chase that kind of information down. Plus there were the usual complaints (mainly from businesses) that yet another label would confuse already shop-weary consumers. However, as one columnist pointed out, businesses are fine to adorn packages with lots of labels ("low-fat," "high-fiber," etc.) that may mean even less.

KRAV said it isn't abandoning the idea of reducing CO2 emissions from food production - instead it will incorporate the rules into its current organic specifications. The hardest hit producers (in Sweden) will be some of those growing hothouse vegetables (or flowers) in inefficient greenhouses. They may be required to make operations more energy efficient (say, by switching fuels used to warm the greenhouse) or stop sporting the KRAV label.

Sometime next month KRAV will have the first criteria ready for greenhouse producers and fish farms. It has already decided that the organic products it certifies must become 20 to 25% more climate smart in overall production. What it hasn't determined is how long it will give different food producers to comply. The Danes are still going ahead with more pronounced climate labeling, though large producers such as huge dairy conglomerate Arla Foods are already grousing. Via: Goteborgs Posten (Swedish)

Read more on climate labeling on TreeHugger
Finding a Sustainable Fish Stick
Swedish Chickens Get Life Cycle Analysis - About A Kilo of CO2 Per Pound of Meat
Swedish Climate Carrots Delayed, But Consumers Eager
and on Planet Green
What's the Footprint of Your Food?

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