UK Food Labelling Requires Change In Legislation

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:

Food Producers

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.

Food Processors

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.

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6 Responses to “UK Food Labelling Requires Change In Legislation”

  1. (27 comments.) Says:

    Here! Here! Sally B.
    My concern is that a lot of people in this Country just don’t seem to care where the food comes from and most the time don’t know how it is produced anyway. We could if we supported the buying British, keep up food production to the point where we were self sufficient. Unfortunately we seem to be going the other way. We could also place better control on how it was produced. Yes it may occasionally cost a little more at the moment, but this would get cheaper if British Farming produced all our needs and I dont except the argument that they couldn’t. When I was a lad in darkest Somerset (that was a few years ago!) we would have eaten everything that was British because that’s all there was anyway and methods are able to produce so much more now.
    If the day ever came when our Farmers went out of business because they couldn’t earn a decent living and food became short abroad, then all these people would soon become very interested and start complaining that nothing was done to prevent us getting to that stage. (I’ll shut up now.)
    BTW you have heard of Wikipedia, I think you should rename this site Sallypedia as there is always so much good information available. {:)

    Roy Norris’s last blog post..

  2. Sally Says:

    Hi Roy

    That really is the issue though Roy, many people think they are buying British when in fact, due to labeling, they are not.

    I really don’t think British farmers could produce all of our food needs, we currently only produce 5% of the fruit we consume in the UK but certainly but certainly we should be buying British before even thinking of importing.

    Excellent point about complaining after the farming industry is gone .. I have watched it for years with campaigns to save village shops and yet when you ask the campaigners if they do their weekly shop in the big supermarkets they all look rather flustered. Put your money where your mouth is I reckon.

    Please tell your friends about Sallypedia lol

  3. (27 comments.) Says:

    Hi Sally
    Certain supermarkets use specific British farmers and they plaster their names all over the shop (so to speak). It doesn’t take much research to find out that its British produce if only people bothered.
    Its all a matter of selection. As an aside, we would not buy milk from a certain Supermarket as they more than most were ’screwing’ the dairy farmers (am I allowed to say that) to the point where they were making a loss all the time.
    Of course, I know there are some doubtful labelling on some products in some shops/supermarkets.

    Roy Norris’s last blog post..

  4. Sally Says:

    That is the issue though Roy, for most people they just want to get in and out of a supermarket as quickly as possible, so they grab a pork pie that says British on .. anyone would assume it’s made from British reared pork but in fact the label is misleading to say the least. The pork may have been reared and even slaughtered outside the UK but the pork pie was ‘produced’ in the UK. It’s this type of labelling I have such an issue with … then of course we have to find a way to get the average shopper to care about anything but price.

  5. Asda (1 comments.) Says:

    I am looking at getting more information about this, please, where are the best resources available? Thank you.

  6. Sally Says:

    Hi Asda, I shall be posting more about this topic very soon and including website links for further information.

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