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Food label confusion

A recent episode of BBC programme, Rip Off Britain, focussed on how much consumers know about food quality schemes, for example Red Tractor or RSPCA Freedom Food, and whether the schemes live up to the promises they make.

In the programme, consumers expressed confusion over and failed to recognise several big food quality schemes.

Rip Off Britain reported that Sainsbury's had phased out the Red Tractor logo from its products as customers have told them that "too many logos are confusing".

Compassion is calling for honest labelling of meat and dairy products through our Labelling Matters campaign. Labelling Matters is a campaign run by Compassion in World Farming, RSPCA, Soil Association and World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). We are calling for all meat and milk to be labelled according to its method of production so consumers can tell where their food comes from.

Since 2004, eggs sold in the EU legally have to be labelled with their method of production. For example, 'eggs from caged hens', 'barn eggs', 'free range' or 'organic'. This simple labelling change has dramatically increased the number of eggs produced cage-free. Clear, informative and honest labelling on pack allows consumers to make informed choices.

Compassion's CEO Philip Lymbery was asked to contribute to Rip Off Britain and said: "Red Tractor all too often assures little more than compliance with minimum government guidelines.

"We are calling for method of production labelling so consumers can make informed choices about their food."

"In the mean time, if shoppers are looking for a higher welfare option they should look for free-range, organic or RSPCA Freedom Food labels."