Welfare groups want more food labelling

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Animal welfare groups have called for a shake-up of labelling laws to properly reflect whether food has been produced by so-called “factory farming”.

Campaigners want to see new compulsory European Union labelling that recognises systems of production.

The call has been made by the Soil Association, Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA in the hope food companies will be compelled to reveal how humanely animals have been treated.

Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive of Compassion in World Farming said: “For far too long, meat and milk from the factory farm has been allowed to hide behind labels such as ‘farm fresh’.

“Yes, food produced to genuinely higher standards, such as free range, organic or Freedom Food will be labelled.

“But it competes on the shelf with labels that all too often give a misleading impression of how the food is produced.

“This makes compassionate consumerism all the more difficult.”

Critics have pointed out that further labelling to food products may only serve to confused consumers.

However Mr Lymbery said: “I believe consumers have a right to know how their food is produced. Our new campaign is aimed at achieving just that; clear labelling by law.”

Recently the dishonest practice of labelling food as being British even when it had only been packaged or processed here, has begun to be phased out throughout the country.

The Yorkshire Post ran its Clearly British campaign to close the legal loophole and since then the European Commission has committed to introducing legal changes and UK retailers have signed up to a voluntary agreement to only label British meat as British.