A new government proposal has been welcomed by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) for “fairer” food labelling that is set out to provide a greater transparency around the origin and methods of food production.

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Secretary of State, Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP has announced a consultation to introduce fairer food labelling.

In his plans, Barclay also set out proposals to require ‘method of production’ labelling on pork, chicken and eggs.

This will help enable consumers to make more informed choices, and give British farmers the recognition they deserve.

The consultation will look at making labelling on food products clearer and easier to understand, with views being sought on details such as a mandatory labels that would differentiate between standards of animal welfare regulations.

The BVA is the largest membership community for the veterinary profession in the UK. They represent the views of over 19,000 vets and veterinary students.

The views which the BVA represent are animal health and welfare, and veterinary policy issues to government, parliamentarians and key influencers in the UK and internationally.

Responding to the news, BVA president, Anna Judson, said:

“The BVA has long supported the principle that consumers have the right to understand where their food comes from, and how it is produced so they can make informed choices. Clearer and fairer labelling is key to this.

“We strongly support the proposal to have label indicating tiers as the clearest and most meaningful way of communicating welfare standards with consumers.”

The president added that they look forward to engaging with the consultation on the new proposal detail.

She said that they are concerned by proposals to label products that fall below welfare standards, as all products in the UK are legally required to meet these standards.

In addition, she stated that the UK government must ensure trading partners meet these standards in all future trade deals, and that they maintain the “high standard” of animal welfare.

NPA on food labelling

On the other hand, The National Pig Association (NPA) has voiced concerns with proposed food labelling changes, stating that they could have “significant implications” for the pork supply chain.

NPA chief executive Lizzie Wilson said the NPA would need to see the full details of what is being proposed to see if the plans were “workable”.

Wilson said the NPA was a part of a “widespread coalition of industry bodies that opposed these plans” when they were previously raised by Defra.