The launch of a new voluntary code of practice on pork labelling means shoppers can look forward to clear and consistent labelling on UK pork products where terms such as free-range, outdoor-bred and outdoor-reared are concerned.

Consumers say they do not currently have enough information to make informed decisions when buying pork and are confused by terms such as 'outdoor bred' and 'outdoor reared' and the conditions in which pigs are actually reared.

Until now, these terms could mean different things depending on the item and where it was bought. The new code, which also covers country of origin and breed labelling, aims to clear up this confusion.

This is great news we believe it is essential that all pig meat is clearly and consistently labelled so shoppers can make an informed choice about what production methods they are supporting through their purchases.

That is why the RSPCA has worked with the UK pig industry to develop a set of criteria for the production method labels. Now these terms have been agreed, we hope retailers will sign up to the code and commit to only using these terms on products sourced from pigs raised under the specified criteria.

The RSPCA is calling for a review of EU laws on pig production and welfare. We have EU laws governing the labelling of poultry meat and eggs, so why not pig meat?

Kate Parkes, RSPCA farm animal scientist

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