17 April 2024
Animal Welfare: Food Labelling

My ministerial colleagues and I want to make it easier for the consumer to purchase food that aligns with their values, by improving transparency and providing the industry with a level playing field to promote such products. I understand that the majority of consumers value high standards of animal welfare but that this is not always fully reflected in what they purchase.

I am aware that while origin information is required for many of the foods on our shelves, this does not provide information on how an animal has been treated or what the environmental standards were in the country it was raised. This means there are imported products in our shops that do not meet UK welfare standards and do not have labels to reflect this. This lack of transparency can undercut British farmers and lead to consumers unknowingly purchasing products they deem unethical.

The Government recognises that this is not fair for consumers and is not fair on farmers and has launched a consultation on fairer food labelling to help promote British produce and statutory codes that ensure that British farmers get a fair price for their goods. The consultation will also explore how we can better highlight imports that do not meet UK welfare standards, improve how origin information is given online to help people find high quality British products, and look at how to ensure promotional activity such as Union Jack labels on supermarket shelves matches the products on the shelf. The consultation can be found here:  https://consult.defra.gov.uk/transforming-farm-animal-health-and-welfare-team/consultation-on-fairer-food-labelling/