PFLA urges members to write to MPs on grass-fed labelling as Trade Bill goes through Parliament
Currently in the UK, the term grass-fed can be used on any products that are ‘predominantly’ grass-fed, which could be as low as 51%. This is misleading to the consumer and potentially negates the health and nutritional benefits of 100% grass-fed beef and lamb.
The PFLA would like to see the UK Government introduce mandatory regulations whereby, when using the term ‘grass-fed’ it needs to be qualified with an assurance of the percentage to which the animal has been grass-fed, eg 75% or 80%. Such a system is already in use in the United States and enables the consumer to make an informed decision. In terms of the Trade Bill, this would ensure regulations in the UK are aligned with those in the US, thus facilitating meaningful trade.
“We warmly welcome the Government’s intention under Section 35 of the Agriculture Bill to introduce regulations around labelling of specific terms and methods of production,” says director Alistair Stobie, who is now leading lobbying for the PFLA.
“We see this commitment as fundamental to achieving the desired higher animal welfare, environmental and human health outcomes from the Bill.”
In a new Position Paper called ‘World Trade Organisation Rules and Livestock Labelling’, the PFLA outlines why it feels meat and dairy products coming from grass-fed animals can be labelled to show consumers that it has a much higher nutrient content, compared the those that are from grain finished animals.
“We believe that the scientific research into the nutritional difference of grass-fed meat over grain-fed meat would meet the ‘objective difference’ requirement of the World Health Organisation,” says Alistair.
“Adopting clear and consistent labelling across the entire sector, that has the backing of the Government, would enable the consumer to make an informed and knowledgeable choice between products.”
The PFLA has today sent out a letter template to its 600 members asking for them to write to their MPs asking for them to support mandatory labelling of grass-fed beef, lamb and dairy, along with the briefing paper. This has been timed to coincide with the Second Reading of the Trade Bill through the House of Commons in the week of 8 June.
The PFLA is also working with a number of like-minded NGOs on broader labelling issues. And as the Agriculture Bill starts its passage through the House of Lords, it will be writing to the Peers accordingly.