UK launches consultation for fairer and clearer food labelling

UK launches consultation for fairer and clearer food labelling

Business

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay has unveiled plans to enhance food labelling, providing consumers with clearer insights into food origins and production methods. These proposals aim to empower shoppers to align their purchases with their values while ensuring recognition for British farmers' products.

The consultation focuses on improving country of origin labelling for select goods, exploring better ways to display this information and determine which products should be included. For instance, in cases where imported pork is processed into bacon in the UK, measures such as enlarging country of origin text or placing it prominently on packaging will be considered to inform consumers of its origin.

Additionally, the consultation proposes mandatory 'method of production' labelling for pork, chicken, and eggs. This includes a five-tier label indicating compliance with UK animal welfare standards, distinguishing between products below, meeting, and exceeding baseline regulations.

Fairer labelling that supports British farmers is crucial for the UK economy. With British farmers already contributing to 60% of the nation's food supply, the agri-food and seafood sectors add over £120 billion in value annually and employ over 4 million people.

Waitrose packaging © Waitrose

Furthermore, the consultation seeks opinions on whether disclosing the origin of meat, seafood, and dairy products should be mandatory outside the home, such as on restaurant menus. This ensures consumers have consistent access to information, whether dining out or cooking at home.

Fidelity Weston, Chair of the Consortium of Labelling for the Environment, Animal Welfare and Regenerative Farming (CLEAR), said: We are looking forward to the opportunity to comment on Defra’s proposed food labelling consultation and we are glad to see that progress to help the consumer understand more about how and where their food has been produced is beginning to be considered.

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