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Proposed UK food labelling policy aims to prioritize local produce

Proposed UK food labelling policy aims to prioritize local produce Dairy & Soy Food, Fresh produce, meat Food and Beverage Business

The UK government has revealed plans to enhance clarity in food labelling in order to “ensure high-quality British food stands out from the crowd.” The proposals, presented at an Oxford conference by Environment Secretary Steve Barclay, aim to “empower consumers to make informed decisions at the supermarket shelf and online, while supporting British farmers producing food to world-leading standards of taste, quality, and animal welfare.”

These plans seek to make food labelling more transparent by “highlighting when imported products do not meet UK welfare standards.” Additionally, they include engaging with major online retailers to help customers understand the origin of their food products at the point of purchase, possibly through a “buy British button.”

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) emphasizes the importance of ensuring that British farmers adhering to high welfare standards are adequately rewarded, and that “high-quality British food stands out from the crowd.” UK Environment Secretary Steve Barclay expressed pride in the fact that British farmers produce food that often surpasses world-leading animal welfare and environmental standards.

“A consultation on clearer food labelling is a welcome change,” said Clive Black, a director at UK investment company Shore Capital. However, he also stated that there is potential for these ideas to be viewed as “we must be seen to do something” rather than a real initiative with a strong impact.

He suggested that a more effective way to support the UK food system, particularly farming, would be to mandate the use of UK welfare-compliant meat in all central and local government procurement. However, such ideas did not emerge from the proposals.

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