Linda has been closely involved with drafting new legislation to make the origin and content of the food we eat more transparent. The issue is important if consumers are to be able to exercise informed choices on health, animal welfare, the economy and the environment. Yet, at present, the information consumers need is at best lacking, or at worst, misleading.
Currently, food producers can label meat products as 'British' if the animals are processed or packaged in the UK, even if they have been reared and slaughtered abroad - something that has been bitterly opposed by UK farmers. Similarly, food manufacturers can currently label a product as low fat but not state that it may instead contain high levels of salt and sugar.
Changes being made to EU legislation will prevent these practices and introduce an EU-wide standard. The genuine country of origin of food will have to be clearly labelled on the front of packaging. Food producers will also no longer be able to pick and choose what nutritional information they include on packaging. Instead, they will be required to provide details of the levels of salt, sugar and fats in their products. Labour MEPs also argued for a traffic-light system to enable busy consumers to quickly and easily identify products that have high or low levels of specific nutrients but this proposal was turned down. Linda also led MEP demands to prevent the development of cloning of animals for the food chain, as experts studies show the technique involves unnecessary suffering for animals. However, this move was blocked by a number of national governments, led by the coalition government in the UK. She is now pushing the European Commission to come forward with fresh legislation on cloning.