Changes to food labelling to encourage buying British
Consumers may soon see a change in food labelling that would say when imported goods do not meet UK welfare standards, with the Government wanting to introduce a “buy British button” on supermarket websites.
Environment Secretary Steve Barclay will announce the plans, subject to consultation, at the Oxford Farming Conference on Thursday, which also include consistent labelling for food that is produced to the highest standards.
He wants to give more information to shoppers at the point of purchase, and encourage them to buy food from British farmers by asking retailers to have a “buy British button” on their websites, as well as introducing other ways to tell shoppers about the origin of their food.
The newly-appointed Cabinet minister will also announce significant changes to the UK’s farming support schemes, in the biggest shake-up since leaving the EU.
Mr Barclay will say: “British farmers take pride in producing food that meets, and often exceeds, our world-leading animal welfare and environmental standards.
“British consumers want to buy this top-quality food, but too often products produced to lower standards overseas aren’t clearly labelled to differentiate them.
“This is why I am proud to announce that we will consult on clearer food labelling so we can tackle the unfairness created by misleading labelling and protect farmers and consumers.”
Changes to the support schemes include paying farmers to maintain and upgrade footpaths, cycle paths and bridleways on their land.
They will continue to receive support for items such as maps, way markers and fencing to mark out access, the Government said.
Both the Conservatives and Labour have ruled out introducing a Scottish style right-to-roam law, saying they want to encourage “responsible access” instead.
The Government said it wants more people to be able to explore the countryside and access green space, to improve people’s mental and physical wellbeing, but said this must be done on permitted routes only.
Ministers are also looking to encourage more young people to learn about farming, forestry, food production and wildlife and are expanding the Educational Access scheme.
Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said: “Reforms to enable consumers to reward farmers who stick to high animal welfare standards make sense for everyone.
“With over 200 million farmed animals in the UK, this policy is a win for farmers and for the public.
“By labelling animal food products to present information about the welfare of the animals involved, consumers can reward high welfare farmers.
“After a two-year delay to the progression of these popular and cost-effective changes, we now need to see swift progress to allow consumer choice to drive widespread improvements in the welfare of farmed animals.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub