Food Labels: How the New Animal Care Card Works

Updated on 07/06/2022 20:04

  • Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir has introduced a new mandatory label for animal husbandry.
  • In the future, five different levels of breeding should be clearly visible in foods of animal origin.
  • The Green Party politician wants to use it to “put German agriculture on new and stronger foundations”.

More current news can be found here

Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir (The Greens) wants to ensure more transparency, animal welfare and sustainability in agriculture through a government five-stage label for animal welfare labels. First of all, the label will be introduced to fresh pork next year, with other animal species to follow. So far it is not clear how the financial support for farmers to transform their barns will be financed. Zoologists and environmentalists have called for improvements and a viable funding system.

With the new animal welfare labels in place, Özdemir said on Tuesday, “the framework conditions will be created to make agricultural animal husbandry in Germany future-proof.” This is only possible if the farmers’ perspective is shown and their work to provide ‘good income’. “Our livestock farms urgently need a reliable and long-term perspective for investments in animal welfare and climate protection to bear fruit,” he continued.

We explain the most important questions about the new label:

How should marking work?

In the future, when buying food of animal origin, it should be possible to see at a glance how the animals were kept. The Minister of Agriculture plans a mandatory designation for this, which will characterize five different types of breeding:

  • The lowest form of education is “Procrastination”.
  • Animals have a little more space in the second form of breeding “stable + place”.
  • The third stage is the position in Fresh air barnpermanent access to an external area must be available.
  • The next stage marking with “outdoors / outdoors”animals must be able to roam freely for at least eight hours per day and have much more space than the legal minimum standard requires.
  • The highest position is “organic”. The production of these foods must comply with European organic regulations.

What is the purpose of the label?

The goal of the new labeling is to grow a “future-proof” animal, the Department of Agriculture explains. A “credible perspective” is needed for farmers to be able to make the necessary investments in animal husbandry. In addition to the new label requirements, funding for the conversion of stables, improved regulations in the Animal Welfare Act and amendments to the Building and Permits Act are also planned.

“We can ask a lot of farmers, but at the end of the day their hard work should pay off for them and their families,” Ozdemir says. Your investments and achievements will be visible through the new rankings. “This is related to the added value, which they can also confirm afterwards.”

The new label also aims to increase transparency for consumers. “Consumers can clearly see how the animal has been kept and take that into account when making a purchase decision,” Özdemir says.

What does the tag look like?

All foods of animal origin that are produced in Germany and sold to final consumers must be labeled. According to Ozdemir, the sign should be “clearly visible and legible”. In the case of unpackaged foods, the label should be placed near the product in retail outlets so that consumers can see it when purchasing it.

The labeling obligation also applies to online trading. Accurate graphic design of the tag must be submitted with the bill.

From when is the sticker applied?

Before the summer recess, Agriculture Minister Özdemir wants the bill to be voted on by various departments, and parliament is also discussing labeling requirements during the year. It will be served over the next year, but initially only pork. Other animal species such as cattle, dairy cattle or poultry should be gradually included in the labels.

How should the restructuring of agriculture be financed?

The issue of financing, in particular financial support for farmers when converting their barns, has not yet been clarified. To date, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has at its disposal an amount of €1 billion as “startup financing”. This amount “certainly is not enough if we want to change agriculture for the future,” Ozdemir says. Clarification is still needed within the alliance.

According to Özdemir, there are several options for financing: for example, a regular tax rate of 19 percent can be levied on meat in the future, while a reduced rate of seven percent is currently applied. Another possibility is a tax on animal welfare, but the FDP rejects that. Meat price hikes may also be the possibility of financing. Another way is through federal support through appropriate USDA budget funds.

What animal protection organizations say about the project?

The German Animal Welfare Association welcomed the main points made, but also expressed criticism. “The market alone will not work, the billion that has been pledged so far is not enough,” said Thomas Schroeder, head of Tierschutzbund. In addition to more money, binding regulations for transport and slaughter as well as strict controls are essential.

The environmental organization BUND has also called for a viable financing system to restructure agriculture. Federal Managing Director Antje von Brook explained that “marking alone does not lead to conversion”. It also called for the labeling obligation to be expanded to include all animal species.

Ozdemir’s suggestion “when shopping provides hardly any guidance on how to keep the animals,” Greenpeace farming expert Martin Hofstetter criticized. Aspects such as transportation, slaughter or animal health were not considered in the standards. (AFP/MF)

The main thing is cheap meat? The “Operation Pig” in the documentary of the same name by ZDF is an important affair for Hannes Jaenicke. In the interview, Janicki denounced the double standards of Germans when it came to love of animals, and questioned the priorities of his countrymen. © ProSiebenSat.1

Leave a Comment