E-petition demands clearer labelling on meat

A Suffolk beef and sheep farmer has started an e-petition asking for mandatory front-of-pack labelling on non-UK meat in supermarkets and other food outlets. Jeremy Perkins started the initiative when he found a campaign supporting UK troops on a pack of meat produced in South America at Sainsbury’s.

“It’s not anything illegal, but it gives a false impression for the buying community,” he told Meat Trades Journal. “The UK has higher welfare than other countries, and it is grossly unfair that our farmers, who have capitalised on improved welfare, should compete against farmers with lower welfare, who don’t have the same costs.”

Perkins believes supermarkets, but also restaurants and other food outlets should clearly state the origin of their meat so consumers can make an informed decision. He said: “I tried to make this petition as broad as possible so it is open to discussion later on, when legislation gets drafted. Food outlets could include restaurants and schools for example.”

Only 35% of local authorities know where the food they serve at school is coming from, and 62% of these say it is British, according to a Freedom of Information request released by the Countryside Alliance yesterday.

Perkins’ e-petition started a few days ago, and has collected over 120 signature so far. “It will take some time before social media campaigns do their job and people get drawn into it,” he added. It is available to sign here.