Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:57 pm on 13th February 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

James West:

We submitted details to DEFRA a while ago. Essentially it would be different labels indicating the method of production. The range of methods of production would differ according to species, but in effect you would indicate whether it had been produced, say, intensively indoors versus extensively outdoors and everything in between. That would be on the packet, so when you go to the supermarket or shop you can see how the product was produced. As Nick was saying, with eggs that moved the market towards free-range eggs and away from caged egg sales—barn egg sales in the UK are low—to the extent that roughly half the supermarkets have phased out caged egg sales and the other half plan to do so by 2025.

It goes back to the point that you need to support the farmers in the subsidy scheme we introduce, but there also needs to be an outlet for them to show that they are delivering at a level that consumers may want. It does not mean that consumers have to buy it—they can see the stuff produced to a lower standard and still choose that—but at least they are informed. At the moment, it is really hard to find meat or dairy products labelled as to method of production. Possibly the only other one is outdoor-bred and outdoor-reared for pork; other than that, it is essentially free range/organic or you are in the dark. It would cover the whole spectrum.