Freedom Food pork rises 200%

Availability of Freedom Food pork has risen by 200% in the last three years, the RSPCA has revealed.

The details were made public shortly after McDonald’s announced it would be the first UK foodservice chain to serve Freedom Food pork in all of its UK restaurants.

MeatInfo.co.uk was told by McDonald’s that the Freedom Food logo would be displayed on its menus and other point-of-sale materials. It was also disclosed that, although McDonald’s had been working with the assurance body Red Tractor since the 1990s, including in its pork production, the Red Tractor logo was never used on any McDonald’s marketing material.

Meanwhile, the RSPCA, which runs the Freedom Food assurance scheme, said that the amount of pork – including sausages, bacon and cooked ham, as well as fresh pork – produced to its welfare standards and carrying the Freedom Food logo had increased by 200%. This, said the RSPCA, showed that pig welfare was still at the front of peoples’ minds, despite the increase in the cost of living.

Consumers prefer higher standards

Although increasing welfare standards does connote increased prices, McDonald’s has said that it will not pass any Freedom Food-related price increases on to its consumers.

And new research released by the fast food business showed that three-quarters of all people asked said they preferred to buy food from farms with high animal welfare standards.

David Squair, chief executive for Freedom Food, said there had been an increase in Freedom Food-labelled pork, which was mirrored by an upsurge in the number of pigs part of the scheme. “This means that nearly a third of all British farmed pigs are now being reared under Freedom Food, where they benefit from the RSPCA’s higher welfare standards, which is great progress,” he said.

“It is clear that British consumers remain firmly committed to farm animal welfare, despite the difficult economic climate. This news also reinforces the fact that people really do have the power to bring about positive changes to farm animals’ lives through what they buy at the supermarket and choose to eat in restaurants.”