In light of the overwhelming volume of label reform taking place in countries around the world, the question that continues to pop up amongst industry experts and consumers alike is, “is all of this talk actually going to lead to different labels on the items I purchase at the supermarket?”. Although a simple way to answer this question would likely be a single “yes”, the fact of the matter is that the situation is far more complicated than it may seem at first. Here are a few reasons why.
One of the primary complaints that UK farmers currently have is that international agricultural businesses are importing items such as dairy and meat for sale at price points which are so low that they cannot be sustained by the UK industry. Due to the disparity in cost of living and production in countries such as the UK and other regions of Europe, it stands to reason that such a confrontation was bound to happen eventually. As part of new legislation designed to protect the UK industries in existence, country of origin labels will likely end up on many products, particularly those that have been manufactured abroad.
Therefore, in this situation, it is likely that the products you buy may, indeed, feature new labelling in the near future. However, the more important question would likely be, “How will these changes affect my diet?” In this particular scenario, the addition of country of origin labels will do little, if anything, to influence your overall diet. Therefore, the labelling is merely a political and economic tool as opposed to an informational resource for the general public.
This also implies, of course, that proposed labelling changes will have the support needed to be fully implemented in the real world. According to Meurig Raymond, current president of the National Farmers Union, “[It is] debatable whether laws could be introduced that forced retailers to state on packaging where their food had been sourced…”
For those who are passionate about their food, labelling reform will, perhaps, be greeted with open arms, as proponents of reform claim that these new food labels will provide a significantly increased level of information regarding proper health and diet choices