Thank you for contacting me about labelling food with details of the farming system used to produce it, and your support for EDM 1095.
However, EDMs rarely achieve anything, except in very unusual circumstances, which is why, like many of my colleagues, I am reluctant to sign them. They are rarely debated and Ministers are not even required to respond to them.
Nevertheless I fully appreciate the importance of this issue, especially given the £200 billion UK consumers spend each year on food, drink and catering services. Consumer confidence is more important in this industry than in any other, and is key to the integrity of the supply chain.
The current regulations on food labelling require that any information, including on packaging, advertising or other media, must not mislead consumers as to the characteristics of the food, including its method of manufacture or production. Specifically there needs to be provided, on pre-packed food, the name of the food, its ingredients, any ingredients potentially causing allergy or intolerance, the quantity of specific ingredients where this is important to consumers, the net quantity of the product, the use-by or best before date, any special storage conditions, the name and address of the producer, the country of origin for a number of types of food, including fresh and frozen meat, instructions for use where required, alcoholic strength and a nutrition declaration.
There may be a case for looking at expanding the range of production method descriptions covered by such regulations in the future but this additional information must improve consumer understanding. It is an issue I will continue to monitor.
Once again thank you for taking the time to contact me.