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Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, known for television programs such as "Hell's Kitchen" and for a personality that might generously be described as pugnacious, has told the BBC that he is pushing for legislation in the UK that would require that fruits and vegetables only be locally sourced and only sold when in season.

According to the BBC story, Ramsay has spoken to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown about his proposal. In addition to providing people with better food, he says, "it would cut carbon emissions as less food would be imported and also lead to improved standards of cooking."

Brown says, "There should be stringent laws, licensing laws, to make sure produce is only used in season and season only. If we don't restrict our movements within this industry of seasonal-produce only, then the whole thing will spiral out of control."

KC's View:
I think that the whole "spiral out of control" thing is old news.

But while Ramsay's idea may seem fanciful – legislation seems a little over the top, and I can't help but think that the British Parliament has better things to do - his essential notion is actually an interesting one.

It probably is fair to say that the quality of food has suffered because of year-round availability. Let's face it – green grapes and corn on the cob may be available in February, but it isn't nearly as good as when you get it in season. It is a kind of lowest-common-denominator approach to food marketing…the short-term immediate gratification of having these items available all the time takes precedence over actually having food that tastes better.

It may be impossible to go backwards on this, though the whole idea of eating local is a good move in that direction. But I still think, especially because of the carbon footprint issue, that it makes sense for food retailers to start thinking about how they are going to wean shoppers off their addiction to year-round availability to certain products.