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Food labelling consultation launched

News Section Icon Published 08/04/2024

Man Reading Label On Meat Packaging You Man Teenager Reading The Label On A Pack Of Meat In A Supermarket
© iStock

Last month, the UK Government launched a public consultation on ‘fairer food labelling’. We welcome this news which is an important step towards putting an end to labelling confusion and creating transparency for British consumers by highlighting different animal welfare standards.

The Government had previously promised to consult on mandatory animal welfare labelling in 2023, following a ‘Call for Evidence’ in 2021. Frustratingly, Defra then dropped these plans which they no longer saw as a priority, so we are delighted that after continued campaigning from our supporters – who called on the Secretary of State at Defra to reinstate the promised consultation on honest food labelling – the Government has made a U-turn.

Unclear and misleading

The majority of consumers want to know where their food has come from and purchase products that ensure higher welfare for farmed animals. Unfortunately, current labelling of meat and dairy products is often unclear and misleading and doesn’t always provide customers with the information they need to avoid factory farmed products.

Method of production labelling is already compulsory on shell eggs, so customers can easily see the system used to produce them - whether it be caged, barn, free range, or organic. When consumers know which farm system has been used to produce their eggs, many opt for higher welfare. In turn, this has increased demand for higher welfare eggs, helping to drive welfare improvements for millions of egg-laying hens.

The lives of all other farm animals across the UK could also be improved if mandatory labelling, providing transparent information to consumers, was introduced.

We need Honest Labelling

Susie Aliband, our Senior Campaigns Manager, said: “We believe that all meat and dairy products should be labelled by method of production, to show the conditions in which each animal was reared. Therefore, we welcome the consultation on food labelling, which at last gives the prospect of including this information on pack.

“Although most UK farmed animals are reared in intensive systems, there’s no law requiring food labels to say how an animal has been raised – except for whole hens’ eggs. This needs to change!

For the sake of vulnerable farmed animals, it is vital that the UK Government implement mandatory animal welfare labelling laws to ensure clear and honest labelling as a priority.”

Experts in the field

We have been campaigning for Honest Labelling on meat and dairy products for many years, and as experts in the field, will be responding to the consultation, providing clear evidence about the benefits of mandatory method of production labelling for farmed animals, consumers and higher-welfare farmers. But we must also remind Defra how many citizens want clear labelling. The more people who speak up, the greater the voice for farmed animals and higher-welfare farmers.

Take action

Please respond to Defra’s consultation today, outlining the importance of honest labelling for animal welfare and consumers.


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If you have any further questions regarding this, or any other matter, please get in touch with us at We aim to respond to all queries within two working days. However, due to the high volume of correspondence that we receive, it may occasionally take a little longer. Please do bear with us if this is the case. Alternatively, if your query is urgent, you can contact our Supporter Engagement Team on +44 (0)1483 521 953 (lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).