Brexit is ‘unique opportunity’ to update bread labelling laws, say campaigners

The Real Bread Campaign has renewed its call for updated and improved loaf labelling and marketing legislation in a letter to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Addressed to MPs Andrea Leadsom and George Eustice – respectively the Secretary of State and Minister of State at Defra – the letter claimed that leaving the EU offered a “unique” opportunity for the government to review and update British loaf labelling and marketing legislation.

Real Bread Campaign organiser Chris Young said this would safeguard people’s right to make better-informed choices about the food they buy.

“Such an ‘Honest Crust Act’ would also help to create a more level playing field on which small, local, independent bakeries will stand a better chance of thriving,” Young said in the letter.

“These community-centric bakeries support more jobs per loaf and help to keep money circulating in their local economies and our high streets alive.”

‘Hindering access to full information’

The letter added that the current situation was “hindering people from access to accurate and full information” about loaves, and that retailers were not required to display a full list of ingredients or declare artificial additives used in the production of unwrapped loaves.

Young added there was an absence of legal definitions for many terms used in loaf marketing, including freshly baked, sourdough, wholegrain, bakery, artisan and craft.

Voluntary measures

Young also suggested Defra should amend The Bread and Flour Regulations to protect the rights of shoppers and small independent bakers. He stated that the revised legislation would ensure a ban on price promotions selling loaves at below the cost of production.

Young added that the word ‘wholegrain’ should only be used in the naming and marketing of loaves if at least 51% by weight of the dry ingredients were unrefined grains, flour or meal.

In March 2017, The Real Bread Campaign said it was disappointed that advertising watchdogs rejected its claim that a Tesco TV ad implied it made additive-free loaves in small batches by hand.

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