Calls for Government to enforce ‘proper’ British labelling

Calls have been made for changes to British labelling in light of a BBC documentary highlighting the lower environmental and welfare standards food is produced to outside the UK.

All fresh meat sold in the UK must currently be labelled to show where the animal was reared and slaughtered, but this does not cover products such as sausages, bacon and ready-meals.

The Countryside Alliance said consumers are paying much more attention to where the meat they eat originates.

The organisation is pushing for labelling that shows where the animal was reared and slaughtered for all meat – including that where meat is an ingredient and part of an overall product.

A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance said: “Currently, sausages made in Britain from Danish pork can be legitimately labelled as British because the meat has been processed in the UK.

The Countryside Alliance believes food marked as British must come exclusively from British farmers and producers. It is wrong to mislead consumers into thinking they are purchasing British, when in reality they aren’t.

“Country of origin food labelling must be mandatory for all processed meat to ensure a level playing field for hard-working British farmers after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.”

Candidates across the political spectrum will be asked to support the ask as part of the Alliance’s Rural Charter.

It comes as research by The Countryside Alliance Foundation showed that only 39% of people knew what a British flag on a meat product meant under current legislation.

On a meat label, if a country or flag is shown, it refers to the place the product last underwent a significant process.

The study also showed 43% believed a British label on a meat product indicated that the animal was raised in Britain.

Sarah Lee, head of policy at the Countryside Alliance, said: “ UK consumers are becoming more conscious of the food they are purchasing and eating.

“This is something that should be welcomed by the next Government and actively encouraged. We want the next Government to recognise the importance of proper British food labelling and not to allow the current, misleading, form to continue as it is.”