Germany introduces mandatory animal treatment label on meat packaging
Federal Minister for Nutrition and Agriculture, Cem Özdemir, has announced that meat production companies in Germany will soon be required to give information about animal holding methods on food packaging.
Özdemir announces mandatory pork farming stickers
The German Bundestag has passed a law which means that pig farmers across all federal states will soon have to publicise their animal husbandry methods on pork packaging. Özdemir says that in future the same labelling rules will likely be extended to other animal products.
Until now, adding a packaging label which explains to consumers which conditions animals were living in before slaughter is optional for farmers. Now, methods will be sorted into five different categories, “Stall” (shed), “Stall + Platz” (stall plus space), “Frischluftstall” (fresh air stall), “Auslauf / Weide” (outdoor / pasture) and “Bio” (organic).
The law also includes an amendment to industrial farming building regulations, and in particular barn conversion, which should make it easier for farmers to adjust their sheds to give animals more space.
“After years of crisis and many attempts at labelling, the restructuring of animal husbandry has finally begun,” Özdemir said. “This is a great and joint success of the coalition for our agricultural sector.”
What exactly do Germany's new mandatory meat labels mean?
The labels are designed to give customers a better understanding of the conditions in which livestock farmed for meat live, though they will not give an explanation of what each term on the label actually means.
Under German law, the minimum space that farm animals are granted varies depending on the species. In the case of pigs, the “Stall” label means that a pig was given a minimum of 0,75 square metres while it was alive. This figure applies to all pigs farmed in Germany that weigh between 50 and 110 kilograms. “Stall + Platz” means the pig was given 0,75 square metres plus 12,5 percent extra space.
Pigs in a “Frischluftstall” are given 45 percent more space than the 0,75 square metre minimum and have access to outdoor areas. Animals categorised as “Auslauf / Weide” have access to an outdoor space at all times and 100 percent more space than the minimum 0,75 square metres. Pigs kept to produce organic meat with a “Bio” label are given a larger space outside at all times.
Shortly after the outbreak of coronavirus, Germans moved more towards buying organic meat products, though in 2021, only 3 percent of the meat consumed in Germany came from “Bio” farms. Since the cost of food rose back in 2022, more people are moving away from organically farmed meat and back to cheaper, factory-farmed products.
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