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Freedom Food Responds to TV Programme

by 5m Editor
15 October 2010, at 11:46p.m.

UK - Freedom Food has responded to the programme on 13 October, 'Food: What's in your basket?' by stating that it approves indoor and free-range chicken production that meets the RSPCA's strict welfare standards.

On 13 October, Channel 4's programme 'Food: What's in your basket' included an item on food assurance labels and focussed on the Red Tractor scheme and Freedom Food. The presenter, Harry Wallop, focussed on chicken in particular and suggested to the consumers he interviewed that Freedom Food was 'worse than free-range' and that the name 'Freedom Food' was misleading.

Freedom Food states that, unfortunately, the item did not mention the fact that Freedom Food approves both indoor and free-range production as long as it meets the RSPCA's strict welfare standards. Neither did it refer to the stocking density research on which the maximum permitted stocking density for Freedom Food approved farms is based. And it did not acknowledge that packs of Freedom Food labelled indoor-reared chicken and free-range chicken are clearly marked with the method of production so shoppers can easily tell whether they are buying free-range or indoor-reared birds. All of this information was provided to the programme makers.

Freedom Food believes that high standards of welfare can be achieved in indoor, free-range and organic systems of production and adherence to the RSPCA's strict welfare standards helps to make this possible. It is also important to recognise that many people are concerned about animal welfare and wish to choose a higher-welfare option but are unable to afford free-range: Freedom Food indoor chicken provides an uncompromised higher-welfare option at a lower cost. The programme's presenter, Jay Rayner, touched on cost of production and consumers' willingness and ability to pay for free-range later on in the programme.

The programme also suggested that Freedom Food members pay "just to use the logo". Freedom Food members do pay to join, the cost of membership (£113 to £465, depending on size) covers their assessment and administration costs.

Freedom Food is a charity registered in England and Wales and in Scotland and does not make a profit from membership fees.