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Should animal welfare food labels be made obligatory?

Labelling Matters - who are a coalition including Sustain members Compassion in World Farming, the Soil Association, and the RSPCA - call for mandatory method of production labelling for meat and dairy products.

The coalition of animal welfare groups are getting ready for a major campaign as method of production (MOP) labelling gains support. Labelling Matters believe that labelling of meat and dairy products can be "confusing, ambiguous and even misleading.” With the exception of eggs, there is currently no legal requirement to say how an animal has been reared on a food label.

Sean Gifford, head of campaigns at CIWF, believes that Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, is making “positive noises” about introducing MOP labels.

However, the National Pig Association (NPA) and the National Farmers Union warn that an MOP label would be very hard to implement because of the many variations in the way that pigs are raised. In an interview with The Grocer, Nick Allen, the CEO of British Meat Processors Association, suggested that good animal husbandry is a more important issue and that the labels “should focus on welfare outcomes, rather than judgments on the method of production.”

Published 15 Mar 2018

Sustain: Sustain The alliance for better food and farming advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity.

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