German pig husbandry labelling law comes into effect - GAIN

Imported products are not affected by the new law
calendar icon 29 September 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

After more than a decade of political discussions on the restructuring of livestock farming, a new German law on mandatory animal husbandry labelling went into effect in August, according to a recent US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

It requires hog farmers to report their husbandry practices and food businesses to label goods accordingly. The label is part of the overall aim of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) to transform the livestock sector. 

Imported products are not affected by the new law.

The new law on mandatory animal husbandry labelling was approved by the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag) on June 16, 2023, and went into effect on August 24, 2023. As a result, Germany is taking the lead with this law in the European Union (EU). Initially, the German government aimed for domestic mandatory labelling standards for imported products, but the EU and World Trade Organization trade laws prevented it. The European Commission notified the bill ahead of its adoption and the final law does not apply to products from other EU countries or countries outside the bloc. Labelling corresponding to imported goods for the German market can be done voluntarily but will not become mandatory.

The label differentiates between five types of housing: barn; barn + extra space; fresh air barn; outdoor/pasture; and organic. The labelling requirement initially only applies to fresh pork (chilled or frozen, packed or unpacked) from animals raised, slaughtered, and processed in Germany. The determining factor for labeling is how the animals are kept during the fattening phase. Distribution channels affected are retail, e-commerce, as well as farmers markets. An extension of mandatory labelling for out-of-home catering and gastronomy is planned for 2024. Furthermore, the label is supposed to be extended to other animal species and products.

German animal husbandry labelling law

Germany’s Intention of the New Law

Technically, no new animal husbandry requirements are associated with the labeling. However, there is immense social pressure on livestock farmers with the demand for more animal welfare. The new mandatory label aims to highlight the accomplishments of farmers and gives consumers a chance to make an informed purchasing decision. Politically, the conversion to more ambitious animal husbandry systems is supported by legal privileges in construction law for farmers who want to convert their livestock facilities to the "fresh air barn," "outdoor/ pasture," or "organic" systems.

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.