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Meat: Labelling

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL14690, tabled on 12 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to (1) ban the "fake farm" labelling of meat, (2) bring forward legislation for consumers to be informed about the age and breed of animal meat, and (3) prevent the use of terms to market such meat as "natural", or (b) "traditional".

Answered on

26 April 2021

It is already against the law for the label to mislead consumers and this overriding principle, set out clearly in food information legislation, applies to each of the noble Baroness’s questions. Each label must be taken on its merits, including whether the origin declared for the food meets origin labelling rules, and if a label is found to be misleading then local enforcement authorities can issue improvement notices to the Food Business Operator to correct the misleading information.

It is completely unrealistic to require mandatory labelling as to the breed and age of an animal on meat, however if such information is provided on a voluntary basis for marketing reasons, as with any other information provided with food, it must not be misleading to consumers. There is already an age-based distinction between lamb and mutton, beef and veal and chicken and boiling fowl.

The use of the terms ‘natural’ and ‘traditional’ are not regulated but, again, when used, should not mislead consumers.