DEFRA has launched a consultation that will seek views on labelling meat products based on animal welfare and provenance.
Only fresh eggs are currently labelled with the method of production by law, and the government has signalled it intends to expand this to more produce.
See also: MP to table bill that would ban enriched cages for egg-laying hens
It will gather evidence in a 12-week consultation to inform any future policy proposals on labelling for animal welfare.
Ministers have suggested the move could help consumers better identify higher-welfare foods and choose British produce more easily.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “British farmers produce food to an exceptionally high standard of animal welfare, and consumers have come to expect nothing less.
“Now that we have left the EU, we have an opportunity to look at food labelling – and whether the information that we give to shoppers helps them make informed choices.
“This call for evidence is a first step in ensuring that we fully meet consumers’ needs, and fly the flag for the high standards for which our farmers are renowned.”
The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF) said any labelling scheme should incorporate:
- Animal welfare labelling
- Methods of production labelling
- Method of slaughter labelling
CAWF patron Sir Roger Gale MP said: “Brexit has presented us with the opportunity to reform our farming systems.
“Transparency with consumers must be at the heart of these reforms, and implementing labelling for animal welfare represents a critical step forward.
“In doing so, we can empower consumers to make informed decisions about which farming systems they want to support – or avoid supporting.
“There is an overwhelming democratic mandate for such a move, with around eight in 10 British consumers stating animal welfare is an important consideration for them when shopping.”