Earlier today, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) launched a consultation proposing changes to food labelling aimed at increasing greater food origin transparency and British farmers' recognition. The consultation follows a range of recent announcements in the sector, aiming at supporting farmers and fairness in the supply chain. 

The aims

It is seeking views on: 

  • Mandatory origin labelling for minimally processed meats, such as bacon;
  • Mandatory “Method of production” labelling on pork, chicken and eggs, based on UK animal welfare regulations;
  • Increased and more transparent visibility of origin labelling (e.g. increasing the size of country of origin text if imported pork is cured into bacon in the UK and features the Union Jack); and,
  • Mandatory requirement to state the origins of meat, seafood and dairy products outside of the home, e.g. on menus in cafes and restaurants.

The consultation also proposes an introduction of a five tier method of production standard based on UK animal welfare regulations. At its initial stage, the proposed changes to labelling rules would apply to domestic and imported pork, chicken and eggs. This would be limited to unprocessed and minimally processed products. Extending these labelling requirements to dairy, beef and sheep meat will be kept under review and subject to further consultation.

The consultation ends on 7 May 2024.