An issue which is being increasingly discussed in the UK is that of food labeling. UK food labelling is about empowering consumers to make personal choices but the legislation for food labelling fails us.
With this in mind I thought I would start a new section of the blog to provide information about British food and UK food labelling.
Long before it became fashionable my mother was buying beauty without cruelty make-up and teaching my brother and I the importance of making informed purchasing choices.
She never insisted I follow her example and buy animal testing free make-up but she did make me very aware that my pounds sterling are what drives manufacturers and my personal choices do make a difference.
We saw the proof of this when public demand forced large companies like Boots to change their policy on animal testing on their own brands.
However, as consumers we have to put our money where our mouth is. Public demand in the UK has driven the welfare standards of farm reared animals to possibly the highest in the world and yet those same voices then trot off to the supermarket and buy cheap imported meat, reared in conditions that British farmers would be in jail for. Here I refer to purchasing by price rather than misleading labels.
Public knowledge of the issue of food labeling is slowy growing, largely thanks to the media and some famous chefs bringing the issue to our television screens. So it is time we, the great British public, start to really care about this issue and demand honest food labelling in order that we can make informed choices when we visit the supermarket.
Through education about animal welfare most consumers do now care about what they are purchasing and eating. They look for ‘barn fresh eggs’ or ‘produced in the UK’ on labels, assuming that barn fresh eggs has something to do with the welfare of laying hens and produced in the UK means that the steak pie they buy is made from beef bred, reared and slaughtered in the UK.
It is not the consumers fault the labels can be totally misleading or that producers are working within the current legislation when they knowingly mislead us in this way.
This series of articles about food labeling is intended to empower you to make informed choices. We will look at the food chain, each label and what it really means, what legislation says about food labeling and how you can buy the food you want without having to take a food labelling guidebook to the supermarket.
There are five distinct groups in this issue, each playing an important part and in further posts we will look at each group and their role in British food production:
The farmers that produce our food in a failing UK agricultural industry. Bogged down with increasing overdrafts, EU red tape, disease and supermarkets that will only purchase perfectly shaped vegetables.
The companies, including large supermarket chains, that buy in food from the UK and abroad. They package and label the food, within current legislation, and sell what their customers are demanding.
Animal Welfare Groups
Groups like Compassion in World Farming, that believe we owe a duty of care to offer the best quality of life to the animals we breed, rear and slaughter to consume as food.