The UK Government has announced proposals aimed at enhancing food labelling transparency, prioritising recognition for British farmers.

Defra has revealed plans to provide shoppers with more information about how and where their food originates from.

The main objective is to highlight more transparency on where food comes from and the methods of production used to get it there, allowing customers to choose foods that ‘align with their values’, according to Defra.

Key elements being considered throughout the consultation are ways to better illustrate origin labels, including how and where this information is placed on packaging and which products should be included in the review.

An example includes imported pork which is then cured in the UK and labelled with a Union Jack label on the packaging, new legislation seeks to make shoppers aware that the pig was imported.

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Two methods of delivery include using larger text to identify the country of origin or by locating the label on the front of packaging.

A ‘method of production’ is proposed to be required on chicken, pork and eggs featuring a mandatory five-tier welfare label for both domestic and imported products.

This would provide a visual chart between those that either drop below, meet, or exceed UK animal welfare regulations, as seen as one of the highest standards worldwide.

Defra secretary Steve Barclay highlighted: “British consumers want to buy their produce, but too often products made to lower standards abroad aren’t clearly labelled to tell them apart.

“That is why I want to make labelling showing where and how food is produced fairer and easier to understand – empowering consumers to make informed choices and rewarding our British farmers.”

NFU Scotland president, Martin Kennedy, said: “NFUS has been calling for an improvement in the labelling of food for many months and welcome the launch of DEFRA’s consultation on food labelling.

Consumers in retail shops and hospitality often have little or no option to proactively choose domestic produce, particularly when some products are designed to look like they have been produced here when they have not. Whether you are a consumer, retailer, or working in food service, a clearer labelling system would help you make an informed and conscious choice about what you are purchasing.

“I also have no doubt that by improving food labelling, it would make it easier for all parts of the food chain to support domestic production and alongside effective quality assurance, it would also underpin the integrity of food. Crucially it is important that any changes to make food labelling clearer should not be restricted to retail but should cover hospitality, food service and catering also.

“We will review the consultation in detail and engage with our membership to inform our response ahead of the May 7 deadline.”