Proposals could see method of production labelling on certain food products


THE UK Government has launched a consultation on plans for new food labelling that would look to ensure greater transparency around the origin of food and methods of production.

The consultation looks at how to improve country of origin labelling for certain goods, including how and where this information is displayed and what products should be included.

For example, if imported pork is cured into bacon in the UK and features a Union Jack, exploring ways to make it more obvious to consumers that the pig was reared abroad – such as increasing the size of the country of origin text, or placing it on the front of the packet.

Proposals to require method of production labelling on pork, chicken, and eggs is also set out in the proposals. This includes a mandatory five-tier label for both domestic and imported products which would differentiate between those that fall below, meet, and exceed baseline UK animal welfare regulations.

Environment secretary Steve Barclay said, “This government backs British farmers, who work hard to produce food to world-leading standards and maintain our nation’s food security. British consumers want to buy their produce, but too often products made to lower standards abroad aren’t clearly labelled to tell them apart.

“That is why I want to make labelling showing where and how food is produced fairer and easier to understand – empowering consumers to make informed choices and rewarding our British farmers for producing high-quality, high-welfare food.”

James Bailey, executive director of Waitrose, told of the supermarket’s support for the plans. He said, “We have a proud history supporting British farmers and are the leading retailer for animal welfare. Everyone deserves to know where their food comes from – how it was grown, reared or made. 

“Better information boosts demand for higher standards, as we’ve seen with mandatory egg labelling. Extending this to more products benefits shoppers, farmers, and animals.

“We support the government’s efforts to improve transparency and ensure shoppers aren’t misled, while giving farmers recognition for their commitment to animal welfare.”

The consultation will run for eight weeks, closing at 23:45 on 7 May 2024.