Food labels should show if ingredients come from overseas, NFUS says

NFU Scotland is looking to UK and devolved governments to roll out new food labelling changes
NFU Scotland is looking to UK and devolved governments to roll out new food labelling changes

Rolling out labels which identify food products with more than 50% of its ingredients from overseas could bolster UK food production, NFU Scotland has said.

The idea would help also help underpin UK food security and self-sufficiency, the union explained at today's AgriScot, Scotland's biggest winter agricultural event.

The new labelling initiative, which would have to be backed by government, retailers, processors and the food service sector, would 'properly recognise' the UK's production standards.

The union said it had started discussions with politicians around a label that could identify food products where more than 50% of ingredients had been sourced from outside the UK.

Greater transparency on where food had been sourced from would allow consumers to make more informed choices, NFU Scotland said.

Speaking to an industry seminar at AgriScot, the union's president, Martin Kennedy said: “As an industry we are extremely proud of what we produce and how we produce it, but sadly when it comes to generating a return, it doesn’t stack up.

“A labelling initiative could allow us to better inform our consumers about the origin of all the food and drink they are purchasing and allow them to make informed decisions.

"I firmly believe that this is where we could see governments and industry working together like never before."

Mr Kennedy said it was a 'huge frustration' to see UK produce, raised and grown to some of the highest standards, being undermined by imports that failed to meet or match UK standards.

He said: “I believe loyalty to domestic production from all parts of the food chain can be supported by legislative change to labelling and that would enhance our ability to keep producing food profitably and locally.

“However, the success of any labelling initiative would be dependent on it being applied across the UK. This would be a real game changer in terms of supporting our own food producers."