British food labelling

Dear Colleague

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay yesterday announced measures to improve transparency in food labelling and make sure high-quality British food stands out from the crowd.

The plans, announced at the Oxford Farming Conference, will empower consumers to make informed decisions at the supermarket shelf and online, while backing British farmers producing food to world-leading standards of taste, quality and animal welfare.

The plans include a consultation on proposals to make food labelling clearer, such as highlighting when imported products do not meet UK welfare standards, and help ensure food produced to the highest standards is consistently labelled. The Environment Secretary will also speak with major online retailers to identify ways to better support online customers to understand the origin of their food products at the point of purchase, including the option of a Buy British Button.

Please click the following link to find more information on the measures, and to read comments from the Environment Secretary: DEFRA News: UK Farming Schemes upgrade and Food Labelling announcements today (4/1/24) (


  1. George Sheard
    January 8, 2024

    Hi sir John
    We need food produced in England to show the red cross not the union flag, Scotland show the blue cross Welsh products show the red dragon, we always try and buy British food showing the red tractor even if it’s a little more expensive, its good for the environment and creates British jobs, Lidl and aldi supermarkets are very good showing their British products,
    Thank you

    1. Michelle
      January 9, 2024

      ++++ Yes, yes, yes.
      I took this up with Sainsbury’s a few years ago and just got some blather and a string of links as long as your arm to follow regarding their ‘mission statement’ or some such rot.

      I know a few other people that have taken this up with various outlets, only to be given very weak excuses.
      One reason was that as ingredients come from all over Britain it would be hard to pin down to just England. That may be true in some cases, but not all.

      1. Hope
        January 9, 2024

        How about N.Ireland? How about goods, checks and labelling in N.Ireland because Snake sold the nation out with his EU Windsor sell out? Your party sold out our nation and forced GB to act in lockstep!! Labelling!! Brexit means Brexit?

        Do we trust Cameron with current negotiations regarding Gibraltar’s relationship with EU, should All your of your party’s attention be on that after Snake sold out N.Ireland and the whole of our country? Labelling of his EU Windsor sell out was nothing like what he portrayed. 4,000 EU laws still in place.

        Is this to distract but not including in labelling debate?

      2. JoolsB
        January 9, 2024

        Exactly. I took it up with all the supermarkets and got nothing but waffle back. Sick of seeing Scottish raspberries with a saltire and labelled Scottish but English strawberries produced in Kent with a Union Jack labelled British. But why should we be surprised when the establishment and the whole political class are doing their best to erase the word England from the political map.

        1. The Prangwizard
          January 10, 2024

          I’m not allowed to say that England has been abandoned by the British Establishment because I said Sir J was a member. Remember – a knight. That is how it exercises control.

  2. glen cullen
    January 8, 2024

    I’m all for improving transparency, however all the current micro small print data on food packaging is currently ignored …so what will differ ….I bet someone has proposed a carbon co2 footprint measure to be listed

    1. Everhopeful
      January 9, 2024

      Agree 100%
      Need a magnifying glass.
      AND I would like to be certain that BUGS in any form can NOT be slipped under the radar by means of tiny print or a plethora of various names.
      Transparency please!

    2. Bloke
      January 9, 2024

      Supermarkets can be split into British & Foreign zones. That way people seeking home produced goods could save their breath and shoe wear, getting round in half the time.

  3. Nigl
    January 8, 2024

    Only politicians and certain lobbies care about food labelling, so more cost little benefit. That cost, of course, will be passed on to,the cindujer.

    Look at any supermarket and almost exclusively people are looking at the ‘out of date’ line.

    Hardly difficult to read the information if you want to. A Union flag is a but if a give away.

    As if there weren’t more important things to deal with.

    1. graham1946
      January 9, 2024

      It needs to be wider than food. I mentioned last year I inadvertently bought a Chinese washing machine because the origin was obscured during buying the buying process, only discovered after installation. This used to be law until we joined the EU, who fake origins – any process done in the EU even with mostly foreign parts, however small and they call them EU products. About time this lazy incompetent government did what they promised and axed UE laws, unless of course they are required to plan to go back in.

  4. Peter Humphreys
    January 8, 2024

    According to the post the new proposals on labeling will include “highlighting when imported products do not meet UK welfare standards”. So why are such products going to be allowed in the UK? Surely the proposals should ban them.

    1. formula57
      January 8, 2024

      @ Peter Humphreys “Surely the proposals should ban them” – agreed, but perhaps that is not permitted under the agreements with the E.U., a well-known poor welfare standards entity.

    2. Mark B
      January 9, 2024

      I think there might be certain ramifications if the UK Government were to do that. Far better to let the consumer do the dirty work and not buy the product. That way no one will import it. Job done.

  5. agricola
    January 8, 2024

    I remember back in the 70s, sat in the Fleece with the asparagus growers of Bretforton, holding forth on how they should market their superb product. Stop sending it off in bulk to the city markets and start giving it an individual farm identity. Paint a picture, make it desireable, and increase your margin by selling to high end users said I. It has taken a long time for it to enter the thought processes of Parliament, but then that is par for the UK course.

  6. Alan Paul Joyce
    January 8, 2024

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Are we importing products that do not meet UK welfare standards and, if so, why?

    Would any of these products be from our ‘friends and partners’ in Europe by any chance?

    1. Mark B
      January 9, 2024

      Please see my reply above.

  7. MFD
    January 8, 2024

    We have heard it all before, little red tractor and all sorts of other money wasting things.
    The shoppers will buy at the right price and quality, what ever!
    I think it is only myself who boycotts anything Eu!
    I buy local and at the farm gate so I can be sure who’s pocket it goes into.

    1. IanT
      January 9, 2024

      No, you are not alone MFD. I stopped buying Irish (Southern that is) food some time ago and got into an argument with my local Supermarket Manager when they kept placing Irish meat in the cabinet clearly marked ‘British’ meat. I’ve also stopped buying French wine, being quite happy to drink Aussie and US vineyards instead. Even my favourite Brie is British made (not French). So bring back Buy British I say!
      My only weakness is Italian cars but even then I see this as a small gesture against the current dominance of German brands in this country. But then folk who drive BMWs will never understand “La bellezza non basta: senza il cuore saremmo semplici macchine” 🙂

  8. Hadassah Davis
    January 8, 2024

    I would prefer we don’t allow sub-standard food into the UK at all. Labelling may give me a choice for what I directly purchase but it gives no choice on food bought and provided by schools, hospitals, care homes, restaurants et al. All these will try to buy the cheapest food to increase profit margins, and the cheapest food will be sub-standard food.

    1. Sam
      January 8, 2024

      Not necessarily HD
      It might be a large company with economies of scale.

  9. glen cullen
    January 8, 2024

    Reporting on GB News –
    ”New post-Brexit rules means shoppers will now see ‘not for EU’ labels on food packaging.”
    So it isn’t about transparancy its about the GB-NI trading and the EU regulations ….its a con saying its for our benefit, its to appease the EU

    1. formula57
      January 8, 2024

      @ glen cullen – I was wondering from where Minister Barclay had found his new interest in origins. As Health Secretary he cared not at all where people treated by the NHS “World” health service came from, despite the Edward Heath government intending to clamp down on health tourism.

    2. Diane
      January 10, 2024

      Glen: Correct. ” Brits left baffled by Brexit’s ‘not for EU ‘ food labels ” – is an article on Politico dated 07 June. Apparently it is causing much consternation, some of us are even disgusted ! ( I liked the paragraph ” ‘Special’ Brexit milk ” ….. )

  10. Ian wragg
    January 8, 2024

    Something else that should have been done immediately after leaving the EU
    This smack of desperation before an election to cover 13 years of inaction and treachery
    I read Fishys article warning that a vote for Reform was a vote for Labour.
    I have never read such an entitlement load of horse manure in my life.

    1. glen cullen
      January 8, 2024

      Its all they know, project fear ….a bit like the referendum, ”the other side is even worse than us”

  11. Bloke
    January 8, 2024

    Quality is a most important standard to maintain. Our government exists to protect its citizens and backing Britain is a key part of that. Clear labelling is a sign of good leadership. Well-informed people are free to make good choices and purchasing decisions.

  12. Peter Gardner
    January 8, 2024

    Is anything going to be done about the absurd labelling rules agreed with the EU by Sunak in his Framework for NI. If memory serves these affect all produce form Britain that might be sold in NI.

    1. glen cullen
      January 8, 2024

      Agree – We have to label UK only ‘not for EU’ for products going to NI …..but the EU don’t have any labels EU only ‘not for GB’ …..nice one Sunak

  13. Linda Brown
    January 8, 2024

    We need to know where animals are slaughtered and by what methods. We also need to know the journey times to slaughterhouses. Small slaughters need to be as near to the animals as possible to relief even more stress.

  14. Berkshire Alan
    January 8, 2024

    Good news But:
    Let us hope that any new labelling system is simple and truthful, and does not simply imply/suggest that goods are simply packaged in the UK having been grown abroad.
    The obvious label would be to print a Union Jack flag on the packaging or price labels on homemade grown food.
    Why are we even allowing food into the Country that does not meet with UK standards ?

    Are Farmers being paid to produce food by sustainable methods, or to look after wildlife and flowers/weeds and put up signposts for public access (which surely should be completed by Local Authorities) etc.

    Good that at last process of some sort is being made after us having left the EU years ago.

  15. Old Albion
    January 8, 2024

    Perhaps this could include marking English products as such. Just like Scottish produce is always marked as Scottish, never British.

  16. Ian B
    January 8, 2024

    Sir John
    ‘plans include a consultation’ not another kicking the can down the road! We have had 14years of the fudges, what needs to happen is the talking to stop, the electioneering to stop and a Government and Parliament that starts working for a living and doing, actually doing what they are empowered and paid to do.

    1. Ian B
      January 8, 2024

      ‘Sunak would ‘strongly support’ review’ Another review so he doesn’t get caught up in doing!

      This Conservative Government, this Parliament, while yes reviews are a part of the process they are empowered and employed to ‘do!’ They always ‘jump’ and react when their Socialist WEF masters say so, without democratic over-site, without accountability or responsibility, even without voter consensus.
      These guys are tearing down the very fabric of society and the legitimacy of our systems all to nurture the own personal esteem and ego. Pandering to their overlords elsewhere, the establishment, the ‘Blob’ – when do we get a Sovereign Democratic Parliament working for those that elected them?

  17. Ian B
    January 8, 2024

    This Conservative Government is the worlds biggest joke – from the Media
    ‘Decisions on revoking an honour are made by the honours forfeiture committee, which is convened under the Cabinet Office but is arms length from government ministers.

    Who is/was made advisor to the Cabinet Office by the Conservative Government – the ex CEO of the Post Office. probably why the Post Office Minister in charge at the time also received a knighthood

  18. stephen phillips
    January 8, 2024

    Why do people want food labeling to be TRANSPARENT ?
    Surely it woulld be hard to read?

  19. Everhopeful
    January 8, 2024

    A bit of good news then?
    Maybe also…
    Less packaging. Calories much clearer and no yellow print on blue background etc etc.
    If date stamps actually mean anything why do supermarkets sell/send out food with incredibly short life expectancy?
    Smoked salmon bought on the 20th December with a use by of the 15th.
    Milk from milkman often chucked because it is off. ( But I would always support milk delivery).

  20. mickc
    January 8, 2024

    If implemented this is a welcome development.

    However it is usually the policy of British governments to inflict regulations on British producers whilst allowing the import of products made in conditions or with materials prohibited in Britain.

    We shall see what happens.

  21. Hope
    January 8, 2024

    Spellman trie to make UK in lock step with EU. Is this a truly UK initiative or one where we are hindered through the Snake EU Windsor sell out agreement? Come on JR, tell us what about N.Ireland? The border down the Irish Sea and how it impacts or hinders UK as a whole?

  22. Peter
    January 8, 2024

    All very worthy. Lots of stuff already has Union flags on the package anyway and it is not that difficult to see country of origin.

    Meanwhile, plenty of people are happy to get KFC and McDonalds delivered by a person on a motor scooter.

    Many will just not change their eating habits despite various New Year promotions in the media.

  23. Ex-Tory
    January 8, 2024

    Yet more bureaucracy.

    1. glen cullen
      January 8, 2024

      Its how they justify the higher taxes

  24. Javelin
    January 8, 2024

    Does food labelling refer to whether the animal are killed using humane methods?

  25. Roy Grainger
    January 8, 2024

    Why are we even importing food that doesn’t meet UK welfare standards ?

  26. Barbara
    January 8, 2024

    O/t, if our kind host allows
    Seen elsewhere:

    ‘We went to Farnborough today to see the £1,400-£2,200p/m flats in which the Government are housing ILLEGAL migrants FREE of charge.

    Seeing this makes your blood boil. These are premium flats in an exclusive part of North Hampshire, and Home Office has taken over the ENTIRE block to house 300 illegal migrants.’

    This was accompanied by a video showing the real-world evidence backing up the statement.

    Can anyone tell me why this is happening?

    1. Mark
      January 9, 2024

      Maybe the plan is to run flights to Rwanda from FAB? They might even be lucky enough to get an executive jet to take them…

    2. Donna
      January 9, 2024

      Because the Not-a-Conservative-Party hasn’t got the guts to do what is necessary to stop the boats or deport the criminals. And Sunak needs to be able to claim that he’s moved them out of 4* hotels and cut the cost of accommodating them.

      He’s also shifting the cost of accommodating many of them from the Home Office onto Local Authorities by granting asylum to anyone who can tell a reasonable sob-story, which is why your Council Tax bill will be going up significantly in April.

    3. Diane
      January 10, 2024

      Barbara: Farnborough – This has it seems been paused & put on hold, after GB News’ report & the local MP having liaised with the Home Office. It would appear though, that as is increasingly the case, info is kept quiet until it all comes to a head when the media & locals find out.

  27. mancunius
    January 8, 2024

    It is, paradoxically, the two German-owned discount food retailers who are most conscious of the British public’s wish to buy British fruit, veg, meat and dairy produce, and who label it clearly and positively.
    My local supermarket, in contrast, persists in only selling tasteless EU tomatoes and Irish (RoI) mushrooms, because they do not sell at its other branches, while here there is a captive, optionless commuter base of homecoming quick shoppers who have to make do with whatever is there. Also, this same retailer’s company’s labelling of Irish beef is apparently intended to confuse it with its British beef – and its managers store the two products in exactly the same place on the shelf.
    And – an event of yesterday – who would have thought it possible in 2024 for a supermarket manager in one of the Big 5 to try to overcharge by 50% ‘because that special offer has finished, and I just made a mistake on the price label’?! I invoked the Consumer Protection Act – he pretended not to have heard of it.
    That retail company’s CEO was paid 4.9 million in the past year.

    1. Norman
      January 9, 2024

      All supermarkets seem to try that on: product X is £1.00 at the shelf, £1.50 at the till. Sometimes it might be an accident. Often they don’t apologise and just look annoyed which makes me think it’s more.

      We don’t have a free food market; I think technically it’s an ‘oligopoly’. About nine supermarket chains buy from millions of far smaller individual farmers in the UK and abroad. Even S & A Davies is smaller, although it can produce the quantities giant companies demand.

      Small farmers on average produce *more food per hectare* than large ones but they face monumental challenges to keep going. If we are to produce more UK food, we need more small shops and market stalls again. Only they are willing to buy from small farms which can achieve these higher yields *per hectare*.

      Jeremy Clarkson, of all people, now seems to know more about farming than the average minister.

  28. a-tracy
    January 8, 2024

    Can he ensure that packed in Britain is different from grown in Britain?

    How long will it take to enact it?

  29. Sharon
    January 8, 2024

    This all sounds very positive! Let’s hope it works.

    There’s still a lot of eco loons who want to re-wild the farm land! So if those types can be ignored, producing our own food is healthier because the food is fresher and doesn’t have to be transported thousands of miles! What’s not to like?

  30. iain gill
    January 8, 2024

    Muslim friends will only buy New Zealand lamb, since all such animals are stunned before Halal killing. Similar Halal meat from the UK has often not been stunned, and so they regard that as cruel. Cannot say I disagree with them.
    The UK needs to fix this.

    1. Mark
      January 9, 2024

      Clear labelling of halal/non halal meat is in order. The flavour is quite different because of the butchery process.

      1. Mickey Taking
        January 9, 2024

        Will the label say ‘This animal had its throat cut and was allowed to bleed to death’?

  31. Enigma
    January 8, 2024

    Hooray at long last! Why do we need a consultation – just get on with it.

  32. Mark B
    January 8, 2024

    Good evening.

    Will there be a ‘Produce of England’ label, or does our government and masters deem that too racist ?

    1. glen cullen
      January 8, 2024

      You’re obviously not a civil servant nor work at a university

  33. Mickey Taking
    January 8, 2024

    Lord Cameron has been searching for a suitable new base in Clubland. Now he has found one, The Londoner can reveal, at Pratt’s. The St James’s club, often described as the most exclusive in London, is so old-fashioned that it doesn’t have a website and staff are uniformly referred to as “George”.
    It isn’t known whether they serve pig’s heads.

  34. Mike Wilson
    January 8, 2024

    I’d like to know:

    i) What has it been sprayed with?
    ii) How many times has it been sprayed?

    1. Mike Wilson
      January 8, 2024

      Further to that – I heard someone talking about a soya bean crop the other day. They enquired of a farmer what chemicals were used. The reply was that the field was sprayed 5 times with Roundup during the process of the crop being sown/grown. It your food label included ‘Sprayed just 5 times with Roundup!’ – would you buy it and eat it?

      1. Mickey Taking
        January 9, 2024

        Others might compete with ‘ Only sprayed 4 times with Roundup’.

      2. gregory martin
        January 9, 2024

        For a crop to sprayed with Roundup 5 times it would have to genetically modified GM, therefore not grown in UK- because neither GM nor soya is !
        Avoid the risk, avoid soya, avoid GM, buy British, be safe and food secure.

  35. BOF
    January 9, 2024

    Clear labelling would be welcome.

    I would especially like to see fake meat and insect protein labelled with full information on method, ingredients and orrigen. Preferably the products will have a flag for identity.
    A scull and crossbones!

  36. agricola
    January 9, 2024

    What I want and randomly am begining to get, are small manufacturers and retailers who thrive on quality.
    Where I live we had a butcher in our miniscule market who retired six months ago. He is now back, citing boredom as the reason, but giving me once more a source of first class meat. It doesn’t require symbolic labelling, just top quality product handled with expertise.
    We have a garden center that some years ago started selling top quality british cheese. Now it has added butchery, bread, a restaurant, and fresh vegetables. The place is packed.
    What I await is a fresh fish shop, such as I enjoyed everywhere in Spain, supplied by british boats sustainably fishing in british waters to the exclusion of foreign factory trawlers. Not because they are foreign, but because they fish rapaciously and unsustainably, at our ultimate cost.
    My sentiments are not nostalgic, they are evolutionry, desiring ultimately a better quality of life for my fellow citizens. This is what politics should be about but rarely gets to as I judge it.

  37. agricola
    January 9, 2024

    Due to lack of a subject, yes I know we had two yesterday, here is a crazy thought.
    The Royal Navy and likely our other two services are very short of recruits.

    Last year we had an illegal stream of boat entrants to our happy land, some of whom after positive vetting, might genuinely wish to contribute to the UK. As a condition of their acceptance and a means of integration into British Society allow them the privaledge of serving ten years in our armed forces. This would solve the lack of recruits problem and at the same time deter many who might have other motives. The unsuitable should of course suffer immediate deportation. Those that did serve would have earned their place in our society.

  38. Donna
    January 9, 2024

    This is a positive move from Barclay.

    However, if you buy food from your local Farmers’ Market, you’ll be getting a superior product with fewer transport miles than supermarket offerings. Even buying a few items a month from your local producers makes a direct and positive difference to our small producers/farmers.

  39. groundsman
    January 9, 2024

    All nonsense we should keep the EU labelling system – it will prepare us for when we rejoin

Comments are closed.