Government consultation launched on food labelling with the aim of making it ‘fairer and clearer’

  • 2024年4月24日 2024年4月24日
  • 英国和欧洲

  • Casualty claims

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has launched an eight week consultation on food labelling concerning pork, chicken and eggs.

The proposals put forward by the Environment Secretary, Steve Barclay, aim to make food labelling “fairer and clearer” . This consultation forms part of the ‘Government food strategy’ as set out by the government in 2022. 

Product origin

The government wants clearer information provided to consumers on how and where their food is produced. Currently, producers must label all unprocessed, pre-packed chicken and pork with the country of rearing and slaughter . While this information is already detailed on the packaging, under the proposals, the new labelling would require product origin information to be more clearly visible to the consumer, such as on the front of packaging or increased in size. 

The government’s view at present, is that it may be misleading to the consumer where a Union Jack flag is displayed on the packaging (as the product has been processed in the UK), but the product has not in fact been reared in the UK. It is proposed there will be greater controls on the use of the Union Jack flag on labelling, although it is not set out how.

Restaurants do not currently have to provide their customers with origin information. Under the proposals, this would become a mandatory requirement.

Production methods

There would be a requirement for the production methods to be labelled on the product using a 5 tier labelling system on both domestic and imported products. The tiered system would indicate whether the method has fallen below, met, or exceeded the relevant baseline UK animal welfare regulations. 


The government wants to deliver on its commitment to back British farming, which currently produces 60% of the food we eat in the UK . This is to allow farmers to gain the recognition they deserve where they are producing high quality and high welfare products which meet or exceed current standards. 

When considering the consumer, the government believes the proposed changes provide better transparency, allowing the consumer to make more informed decisions on the products they purchase and eat. The government has described the changes as “helping customers make decision that align with their values” .

Potential impact

Farmers may feel pressure to increase the quality of their produce if consumer habits change as a result of being more aware of the origin and production methods. The consumer may find themselves turning away from products which they are increasingly aware do not align with their values. Supermarkets and other wholesalers will likely keep a close eye on the chicken, pork and egg products that are, and are not, selling well following any changes.

For restaurants, the proposals may be seen as onerous and challenging when considering factors such as their supply chains. This may be particularly felt by those who are small and independently run, in an already difficult economic climate for the hospitality industry. Restaurants could find themselves unable to keep up with such changes and requirements. 

Any changes will impact businesses designing and manufacturing packaging. This will likely have a large effect on all the brands we see, for example, on the supermarket shelf producing and/or selling chicken, pork and egg products, to ensure they comply. 

While ‘post-Brexit freedoms’ included the government removing unnecessary red tape and regulatory burdens for British businesses, it could be questioned whether the proposed changes align with this.  

It will be interesting to see the outcome of the consultation and any legislative changes that follow, including possible sanctions, and the resulting impact for producers and consumers. Those potentially impacted will have until 7th May 2023 to respond to the consultation.



Charlotte Cossey, Junior Associate