Defra has gathered evidence on the possible introduction of ‘production method’ labeling on food.
At present only egg packs in the UK are required to give an indication of the different production systems from which the eggs come, but animal welfare bodies are keen to see the idea extended to other other animal products. There is also support from some farm bodies, who see superior animal welfare as a way to differentiate UK produce from imported meat and dairy, especially in the post-Brexit world of international trade deals.
There were 1,500 pieces of evidence submitted to Defra, which has now committed to full consultation on the production labeling method next year.
Welcoming the pledge, the RSPCA noted that the majority of responses came from the public demonstrating “real demand” to introduce more transparent labeling for the animal products that people consume.
“A recent survey for the Animal Friendliness Index found that 58% of people who eat animal products said they would pay extra for products where the animals had not been kept in cages – reaching 63% among women – showing that even in tough economic times there is still a demand for higher wellbeing,” the RSPCA said.
“Mandatory ‘method of production’ labeling will help inform supermarket and food service outlet shoppers about how the animals that produce their food have been raised, further incentivizing and supporting farmers to produce to quality standards. higher well-being and allowing consumers to have more choice over the products they buy and consume.
“Currently only eggs are labeled in this way, with buyers now becoming familiar with the terms free range, barn, cage or organic systems, but we would like to see these labels extended to all animal products. Defra suggested it is important that labels cover imported products as well as domestic products to give people clear information in the face of free trade agreements that threaten to lower our farm animal welfare standards. . »