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Alliance welcomes Defra Buy British Labelling plans

The Countryside Alliance has welcomed the Defra’s announcement that food labels will be made clearer to help consumers buy British products.

The new plans, looking at products of animal origin, will mandate that labelling be more transparent about country of origin and pork, chicken, and eggs, specifically, must include ‘method of production’ information on their packaging. In doing so, Defra aims to help consumers make buying decisions that “align with their values” and give British farmers the “recognition they deserve”.

The government will explore how best to improve country-of-origin labelling in a consultation running until 7 May. It will consider how and where this information is displayed and what products should be included. It will also look at how to display clearly country-of-origin information for imported products which are then processed here and can therefore feature a Union Jack on the label, such as imported pork that is then cured into bacon in the UK.

Under the proposals, packaging for pork, chicken, and eggs would include a compulsory five-tier label for both domestic and imported products, which would differentiate between those that fall below, meet, or exceed baseline UK animal welfare standards.

Sarah Lee, Director of Policy and Campaigns for the Countryside Alliance, said:

“This initiative, alongside the numerous supermarkets who have recently added ‘Buy British’ tabs to their websites, are clear victories for British farmers. The Countryside Alliance has long campaigned for mandatory country of origin labelling to ensure a level playing field for farmers, and to help consumers who are increasingly mindful about their food sourcing to make better shopping choices.”  

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.”

The full consultation can be found here and closes on 7 May.

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