Survey: Major retailers and producers in Germany back binding meat label

Greenpeace advocates for a multi-level label, meaning a label to also be applied to the catering industry and imported meat. [Shutterstock]

A number of major retailers and meat producers in Germany see the idea of a legally binding label on meat in positive light, according to a Greenpeace survey published on Tuesday (27 March).

McDonalds, Tank und Rast, LSG Sky Chefs, the catering subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa, as well as the German producer organisations for pigs (ISN) and poultry (ZDG) and major grocery chains support the idea of a clear, legally binding label on meat, the survey conducted by the German branch of Greenpeace found.

Aldi, Rewe, Kaufland, and Tegut –  all major supermarket chains in Germany –  support Greenpeace’s urge for more customer transparency, the organisation said.

But Greenpeace pointed out that not all grocery chains in Germany are in favour of this idea.

“Edeka struggles with a clear answer, Net and Real did not answer Greenpeace at all and Real, the Metrogroup company, does not seem to be sufficiently concerned about animal welfare,” the organisation stated.

Politicians urged to act

Greenpeace conducted the survey after the German Lidl grocery chain store decided to voluntarily stamp its entire range of fresh meat with a label letting consumers know where the meat comes from. The measure is to be introduced as of Easter.

The Lidl initiative is a voluntary and welcome step, but it can be improved via a legally binding label, said Stephanie Töwe, an agricultural expert at Greenpeace Germany.

“Because we do not want to see every retailer or catering business coming up with their own initiative, we urge the German government to finally take action and bring mandatory labelling on the way,” she explained.

Greenpeace advocates for a multi-level label, meaning a label to be applied to both the catering industry and imported meat. “It should also let the customer know if the animals were fed with GMO and about the husbandry methods”, the organisation added.

The willingness of the retail and meat industries to support the idea of a legally binding label on meat overtakes the federal ministry of agriculture, Greenpeace said.

The ministry announced on 23 March that it was planning to introduce a voluntary label on animal welfare.

“For the new federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner, there is now no reason to press against a legal and obligatory solution as her predecessor has always done,” said Töwe.

“A soft-washed voluntary label, as announced by the federal minister of agriculture in her policy statement last Friday, will help nobody – neither the consumer, nor the meat and catering industries and least of all the animals,” she said.

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