Government proposals to introduce fairer food labelling to provide greater transparency around where food comes from and how it is produced have been welcomed.

Food labelling which misleads customers into thinking the food they are buying has been produced locally is one of the issues that has prompted the recent protests by farmers in Dover, Ashford and Canterbury.

DEFRA Secretary of State Steve Barclay has announced a consultation on proposals to introduce labelling that will enable consumers to make more informed choices and give British farmers the recognition they deserve.

It will look at how to make labelling on food products easier to understand, and ask for views on details such as a mandatory label that would differentiate between standards of animal welfare regulations, and was welcomed by the British Veterinary Association.

President Anna Judson said: “The British Veterinary Association 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. The proposals laid out by the Government seem like a positive step. We strongly support the proposal to instigate a label indicating tiers as the clearest and most meaningful way of communicating welfare standards with consumers and we look forward to engaging with the consultation on the detail.

“However, we are concerned by proposals to label products that fall below UK baseline animal welfare standards. All products in the UK are legally required to meet these standards, and we have been very clear that the UK Government must ensure trading partners meet these in all future trade deals.

“We urge the Government to take this into serious consideration when firming up the detail and to ensure it engages with the animal welfare sector and veterinary profession to ensure the UK maintains the high standard of animal welfare it is renowned for.”

Martin Lines, chief executive at the Nature Friendly Farming Network, also welcomed the consultation “and the effort to make food labelling clearer and fairer for farmers and for consumers who want to know more about the food choices they are making”.

He added: “Having a clear, regulated food labelling system can support nature-friendly farmers by giving proper recognition to food production methods that are helping to rejuvenate our landscapes for nature and the climate.”

Photo: Matylda Laurence /