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We are pleased Defra has listened to us on welfare labelling

8th Aug 2023 / By Rebecca Veale

Writing in the August issue of Pig World, NPA chief policy adviser Rebecca Veale welcomed the Government's change of heart on welfare labelling.

Rebecca Veale 2The Government has recently announced that they will not be consulting on proposals to introduce welfare labelling, following pushback from NPA and stakeholder groups.

The proposals for mandatory welfare labelling in pork, poultry and eggs in retail would have seen a split in the pork supply chain adding significant cost. Defra said the labels would ‘seek to simplify and clarify existing welfare labels’, but we argued this would not provide consumers with more information than they already have given the Pork Provenance Code is widely used.

The work on eco labels continues and, whilst only voluntary, these would likely contradict the welfare labels proposed, adding further confusion for consumers.

Having responded to the Government’s Call for Views in 2021, we met with the Defra team last autumn to discuss the proposals and share the NPA’s position. We continued to raise concerns, but the Defra team were adamant these proposals would be consulted on.

In turn, NPA joined forces with other industry groups to write to Minister Spencer to iterate the impact they could have on the sector whilst not delivering more for consumers. The position of the sector was made clear again when the NPA Pig Industry Group invited the Defra welfare labelling team to join their meeting, which is why the team was very pleased that Defra has taken the decision not to consult now.

The Defra team still wants to improve transparency and provide the industry with a ‘level playing field’ to promote higher welfare products, but future work will include looking at how welfare labelling could align with wider labelling proposals, such as eco-labelling.

We are so pleased Defra has listened to us and others throughout the supply chain on this and will continue to work with them to ensure any future moves to increase transparency in the pork supply chain are both proportionate and effective.