Monday, January 9, 2012

A Seal for Locavores

According to the Random House Dictionary (2012 edition) the word locavore was coined in 2005, on the model of carnivore, herbivore and omnivore. The dictionary defines locavore as:

(noun) a person who makes an effort to eat food that is grown, raised or produced locally, usually within 100 miles of home

As in many places around the globe, Brazilians consciousness as to the origins of the food they ingest has been raised in recent years, and Brazilians, just like Americans, Australians or Germans, are concerned about all the issues involved in the eating of food produced or processed far from home and transported for long distances en route to the consumer.

Fortunately for those Brazilians who care about such issues, those who might call themselves "locavoros", a large percentage of the food eaten in Brazil is produced in the same region as it is sold and eaten, and most food comes from family farms, or small producers, and not from multinational agri-business giants. In the state of Ceará, where Flavors of Brazil is based, the ministry of agricultural development estimates that 70% of the food consumed in the state is grown or produced there on family farms.

Recognizing that consumers want more information about the origin of their food, and wanting to support and encourage local production of food, the ministry recently launched a new program involving a seal of origin for local products called "Selo Agricultura 100% Familiar" or, in English "The 100% Family Agriculture Seal." The seal is awarded to farmers and small food producers who can show that their products are local, produced or raised on family farms, and can prove that the products are environmentally sustainable, meet certain sanitary standards, that animals are treated humanely and that no child labor was used. Once these conditions are met, a farmer or food producer can apply to the ministry for a seal that he or she is entitled to use on labels, in advertising, and in signs.

To date, the ministry has issued 30 seals, to enterprises as diverse as beekeeping and honey production, rice and guava farming, fishing cooperatives and yogurt and cheese producers. There are an additional 120 enterprises whose applications are currently being investigated, and 320 producers have begun the certification process.

The seal, whose design was chosen by the public from among a number of contest entries, has been registered and copyrighted, and should begin to be seen on products in the first quarter of 2012.

In recent posts of Flavors of Brazil, we've highlighted similar seals certifying sustainable crab fisheries and shrimp aquaculture in Ceará. Such certification seems to be a growing trend here, and one that Flavors of Brazil endorses and applauds.

1 comment:

  1. Great for Brazil, will hope more and more latin american countries have the same policy