The recent and ongoing horsemeat scandal has brought to light a simple and ugly truth: we as consumers don't know what we are eating, where our food is from or how it was produced. Questions regarding the horses' welfare remain largely unanswered.
What many are not aware of is the fact that the Commission held a conference a year ago to launch its animal welfare strategy. The key message was that consumers need clear information on animal welfare for their purchase choices.
Yet the Commission will not introduce welfare labelling, as many Member States (including the UK) and those in the industry oppose mandatory method of production labelling and do not want consumers to know how animals are reared.
Philip Lymbery, CEO at Compassion in World Farming says: "In 20 years of campaigning and working in the animal welfare sector, never have I seen such hypocrisy and the seemingly intentional contradiction of two completely separate and clashing key messages.
"The Commission is fully aware of the fact that consumers need and want to know where their food comes from. But they will not consider labelling. This is completely duping consumers; you may as well blindfold them given that it is so difficult to make an informed decision when shopping for meat and dairy products."
If method of production labels were mandatory, shoppers would be able to make an informed choice, buying products such as meat and cheese based on method of production as well as price, taste and quality.
Compassion's Labelling Matters campaign is calling for method of production labelling. We want to actually empower consumers: so that they are able to make informed choices. After the recent horsemeat scandal, don't you want to know what you're eating?
- Call on Owen Paterson the UK's representative on the EU Agriculture Council to take action on food labelling