Although we often think of food labels as a tool for ensuring that a product contains only safe ingredients that consumers are comfortable ingesting, the truth of the matter is far more complicated. Labels can be designed to promote a variety of ideas and classifications, in-cluding country of origin. Although it may seem that today’s globalized economy has ren-dered “point-of-origin” matters nearly obsolete, many are deliberately choosing to avoid products that do not come from domestic manufacturers in an effort to show their support and solidarity for those on their home turf who have remained competitive in the 21st century economic climate.
The UK dairy industry is one such industry in which the desire for country of origin food la-bels far outweighs critiques of such a proposition. Recently, the UK agricultural secretary, Liz Truss, spoke out about recent trends in dairy manufacturing, stating that it is highly likely that British producers will find themselves at an economic disadvantage in coming years due to the influx of lower-priced goods from foreign markets. Additionally, Truss believes that many consumers mistakenly believe that they are already purchasing British goods, when the facts do not support these claims.
According to Truss, “It is wrong that when you go into a British supermarket, you can look at a product on the shelves and think it’s British, when in fact the milk in it has been produced abroad.” This isn’t necessarily an instance of faulty labelling, but rather an oversight that, if adjusted, may result in increased profits for dairy producers who have been forced to grow accustomed to declining income.
Truss continued on with her discussion, asserting that a relabelling of dairy products and food labels in general would provide an element of long-term sustainability and security for UK’s dairy workers that had been lost in recent years. “We will continue to face a difficult global market…”, Truss said, “[…] We want to make sure that the hard-working farmers in this industry are able to withstand as far as possible the immediate effects and also to have the resilience to handle volatility in the longer term.”
Hopefully, the UK’s dairy industry will receive the financial lift they need following this opti-mistic message of support regarding domestic food labels.