As a result of the proliferation of industrial farm animal production on the one hand, and the growing global crises such as climate change or antimicrobial resistance on the other, food product sustainability has become an increasingly important item of interest on a long list of pressing concerns over planetary health. However, consumers may find it hard to act on these concerns in the absence of information on the methods of production on animal products. In the EU, the absence of a method of production labelling scheme is even more problematic for consumer information given the increase in animal-based products imports and the likelihood that methods used to produce those goods did not comply with EU rules.
Depending on the choices made by consumers, a mandatory label of production method on the farming of animals used for food could eventually steer producers towards favouring methods of production that are in line with achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Furthermore, such a label would contribute to level the playing field on the EU market by imposing the same transparency rules to all sellers, including importers.
Imposing a mandatory method of production labelling scheme raises the question of compatibility with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. This article tests a hypothetical method of production label against the WTO’s Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, and concludes such a label could be found in compliance with the TBT Agreement.Global Trade and Customs Journal