Ethical Food Labels on all food packaging
Make it compulsory that food product packaging includes additional information (alongside nutrition information etc.) relating to social and environmental issues. Labels such as "Fair Trade" and "Free Range" exist for food products that meet certain criteria, however the majority of food product packaging does not include information relating to these issues.
Information that could be included:
*Are producers paid a fair wage?
*Working conditions for producers
*Ecological impact (effect on biodiversity, destruction of natural habitat as a result of production etc.)
*Environmental impact (pollution, carbon footprint)
*Suitability for vegetarians/vegans on all products
*Welfare of animals used to produce meat/dairy products
Each category should be addressed by a body of experts and the information to be given within a box similar to nutrition information.
This will inform the consumer at the point of purchase exactly what ethical issues relate to the products they are buying and give them the opportunity to buy ethically.
If this information is readily available it will encourage companies to take more responsibility socially and environmentally.
I started a facebook group about this while ago, which is now over 100 members and a petition to parliament, which got shut down due to the election campaign.
I feel that a 38 degrees campaign would add a lot more weight to this proposal, and I'm happy to let them take the reins.
Please check out this, it looks interesting
Ken Stannard commented
Surely this campaign should be widened to include full label for meat prepared according to any religious practise, such as Kosher or Halal.
Don Munro commented
Ethical labeling is crucial on many fronts. Consumers have every right to expect clear information so they can choose to support ethically and sustainably produced goods whether its food or any other goods. This also counts for supporting local farmers and manufacturers, reducing carbon footprints, etc.
Gordon Craig commented
Should we consolidate our votes to make them count and pick a campaign that best suits the "No Confidence/ General election vote?" I personally feel no confidence says it all and should then lead to a general election.
George pinnell commented
Surely it is also high time that toothpastes containing fluoride carry a poison warning label, as has been a legal requirement in the USA for years.
As a vegetarian I appreciate it when a product is marked as being suitable for vegetarians as it saves me having to check all the ingredients listed. However, as there is no legally agreed definition different companies may use different criteria. I therefore prefer the Vegetarian Society's own approved symbol, where available. This gives puchasers the assurance that the product has been independently verified. Also, such products must not contain GM ingredients and any eggs used must be free range.
A recent article in The Guardian, based on the findings of a Which? survey, claims that current ethical labelling may be doing more harm than good - hence the need to make it clearer!
Many thanks to everyone who has voted or commented so far. There is now a page on the greenvoice website for this idea with a bit more information.
Sadly, certain countries are already challenging our labelling system on the basis that it is an illegal barrier to free trade. As an example countries producing food containing high levels of GM crops are balking at the fact British supermarkets won't touch them as the labels for UK have to contain that info [and brit buyers won't buy it]. These countries Japan, Taiwan, China claim our labelling systems mean their foods don't meet our 'extra' labelling standards-so they see it as an illegal barrier. This is a genuine, legal protest to Europe-so watch the press n keep checking your food labels....as this is very worrying. These countries want us to remain in the dark about ingredients, and expect us to trust them to do 'the right thing', but we are not that stupid-times have changed and they need to change with us.
I agree - meat eaters and vegetarians alike want to know if the food they eat has been ethically produced and consumers have a right to know. I feel strongly about saving our natural habitats and fully support this petition.
Lisa - I agree, I spend ages looking for the country of origin on packaging and think it's something that could be included. Might take some thinking as often products contain ingredients from more than one country. I've 3 possible suggestions:
1. Country of origin listed in brackets after every ingredient, e.g. Wheat (UK), Barley (DE) etc.
2. A list of countries in the table of all countries of origin, although it would be difficult to fit in where each comes from and still keep the table simple.
3. Just include country of origin for specific products (e.g. meat, eggs) where there is concern over them in some countries.
Also agree that companies should state if they contain products such as unsustainable palm oil, which one of the issues that led me to this idea. I also think that efforts and targets that companies have to make their products more ethical should be acknowledged on the packaging, even if they are not quite at the stage where they can be classed as fairtrade, and I'm sure that any comapny in the process of cleaning up their business would appreciate the publicity.
Lisa-Marie Saunders commented
I feel that this is an incredibly important issue, if companies don't start moving to etically produced palm oil we are in danger of losing a huge number of species from the world forever. But this issue is more far reaching than just palm oil, although this in itself is such an important issue that we should be campaigning based purely upon it. In addition, however, I find it incredibly difficult, for example, to find labelling showing clearly where pork is produced. As the restrictions on pork welfare are a great deal higher in the UK than the rest of Europe I feel ethically bound to buy British pork but the labels don't always make it clear where the pork is produced. Ethical labelling would help in both of these circumstances as well as many more. Companies are always proud of displaying that their products are fairtrade, it is about time that palm oil and other issues became as important to them & they should be made to advertise if their products use unsustainable palm oil as well as if they use sustainable sources.
Yup, sounds like a good idea- this would also enable consistency and reduce the chances of 'greenwash' type blurb that doesn't actually mean anything.
Agreed, the above ethical information should be displayed, esp info regarding the treatment of animals and environmental impact