Labels on intensively farmed meat and dairy products often use words and pictures that suggest the animals have lived good, free lives.
Using language such as 'Farm fresh' and 'quality assured' they often show photos of farms or farmers standing in rolling countryside. All of these may be used to mask the truth about factory farming.
Food labels should clearly distinguish higher welfare products from intensively farmed food that is often packaged to give the impression it comes from animals living free-range lives.
OneKind is supporting a newly-launched campaign in Europe and in the UK to prove that European Union food labelling laws are unfit for purpose, and to demand changes to EU laws.
As part of this campaign OneKind would like to collect evidence of misleading meat and dairy product labels. We would really value your help and support.
Help us track down misleading labels
European Union labelling rules on meat and dairy products aren’t fit for purpose. Some food labels can imply that the products were from animals that had good, outdoor lives, when the product actually comes from a factory farm. This summer, we need you to take photos of misleading labels to back our call for clear and honest labelling.
What kind of food labels are we looking for?
We're particularly looking for:
- Chicken meat labels – pre-packed whole chicken, chicken breasts, chicken drumsticks etc
- Pig meat labels – pre-packed sausages, ham, pork etc
- Cows' milk labels – bottled milk, cheese, yoghurt etc
- but if you find other alarming examples please send them to us too.
We're also very interested in labels from other EU countries. So whether you live, work or holiday in any of the 27 EU member states we really need your help!
What does a misleading label look like?
- A misleading label includes words or pictures that imply the food inside is high-welfare, when the small print doesn’t back this up.
- You can tell a product is higher-welfare if it is part of a relevant certification scheme (eg, ‘RSPCA Freedom Food’ or ‘Soil Association’ in the UK, and ‘Label Rouge’ in France), or there is a specific description of the method of production such as ‘free range’ or ‘organic’.
- If not then please look out for words like 'farm fresh', 'natural', 'high-quality'
- Pictures of free-range animals, or of sunshine, trees, fields, or attractive rural scenes. Find out more about what different food labels mean
What do I need to do?
- Please take a photo of the label including the bar code – and make a note of the date as well as the shop, town and country in which you saw it.
- Let us know your name and country of residence
- It would also be helpful (though not essential) if you could include a daytime telephone number in case we need to contact you with any queries.
- E-mail your photo(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please submit all your labels no later than 30 September 2012.
The labelling campaign will verify which labels are genuinely misleading. Where necessary, misleading examples will be referred to the relevant local trading standards authorities. The best (or worst) examples will also be used to prepare dossier of misleading labels, for presentation to Members of the European Parliament and the European Commission for Consumer Affairs.