Environment labelling should not be simplistic

Meat bosses have warned against over-simplistic labelling when it comes to environmental messages on meat products.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) recently called on retailers to introduce front-of-pack labelling on meat products, advising shoppers to eat only three portions a week. The environment charity claims that the UK is "over-consuming" red meat and says people should limit consumption to the portions recommended by the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) Eatwell Plate.

The recommendations are part of an imminent WWF report, which outlines strategies to reduce UK meat consumption. In addition to asking retailers to encourage shoppers to eat less meat by labelling packs, reformulating ready meals and providing advice on meat-free meals, the report calls for a clear directive from the UK government. It asks the government to update FSA guidelines to include WWF One Planet guidelines, support greenhouse gas reduction at farm level and reconsider taxation of high-carbon foods.

However, British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) director Stuart Roberts said: "The issue is much more complex and needs to address all environmental issues, many of which are positive in relation to livestock production – habitat management for example." He admitted the industry had to "knuckle down" to address some of the difficulties on climate change, but said it was moving in the right direction.

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