UK poultry producer Premier Fresh Foods has launched what it claims is the first UK labelled "barn reared" fresh chicken on the market under a scheme set up by the RSPCA. The charity's Freedom Food farm animal welfare scheme aims to improve conditions for farm reared animals. If a product adheres to EU regulations on barn reared animals the RSPCA will endorse it with its own Freedom Food welfare label. Tesco and Somerfield will be stocking the new product in the next few weeks. The chickens will be priced 20% more than standard but the RSPCA believes this is an "affordable" welfare option. The move comes after recent criticism of the UK poultry industry in an EU report (The Grocer, February 5, page 5). The report has led to greater calls for animal welfare standards to be improved at broiler units. l Safeway is launching a non GM chicken into its stores from March 6. It will be sold alongside Safeway's existing poultry range but will be clearly differentiated with a non GM sticker. As demand increases it aims to extend the selection of sizes and cuts of chickens on offer. {{NEWS }}