Welfare and consumer concerns in UK Pork

15-01-2009 | |

A poll commissioned by UK welfare organisation RSPCA suggests that most people are ‘pig ignorant’ when it comes to food labelling on pork products.

The results reveal only a staggering two per cent of those questioned understand the terms used on pork products such as ‘outdoor bred’ or ‘free range’, meaning almost all shoppers are confused about the conditions in which pigs are actually reared.

The RSPCA, which has just launched a campaign entitled ‘Rooting for Pigs’, is calling on supermarkets and other UK food retailers to work with it to develop and sign up to a voluntary labelling agreement because there are currently no set definitions for pork product labelling.

No industry-wide definitions
Dr Julia Wrathall, head of RSPCA farm animal science said: “It may come as a surprise but there are actually no industry-wide agreed definitions when it comes to labelling, in complete contrast to eggs and chickens that do have legal definitions at EU level for terms such as ‘free range’. We need clearer labelling, and under a system which makes sense to everyone.”

The RSPCA is now calling on retailers to join with the Society and the British pig industry to develop, and then apply agreed definitions for the terms they use when labelling pork products.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has also been working with the RSPCA, and will lead the debate on pig welfare in his new programme Jamie Saves our Bacon – due to be aired as part of Channel 4’s ‘Great British Food Fortnight’ on 29th January.

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