Throughout August, Labelling Matters, a joint initiative of Compassion in World Farming, the RSPCA, the Soil Association and World Animal Protection, is taking its message that meat labeling needs more detail across 21 European Union states, and is grabbing attention via a person dressed in a chicken costume. “Rosa,” as the chicken has been dubbed, is calling for clear, mandatory labeling of poultry meat and wants consumers to be able to answer the question, “How was this chicken kept?"

The European Commission is currently reviewing its marketing standards for poultry meat and eggs. Commission Regulation 543/2008 on marketing standards for poultry meat already defines methods of production for free-range eggs and extensive indoor chickens. The Regulation, in force since 1991, sets out the standards that must be reached if retailers wish to label chicken “free range” or “extensive indoors." 

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Labelling Matters is recommending that the labeling terms be changed from voluntary to mandatory and to add a requirement that meat from chickens reared intensively indoors be labeled “intensive indoors.” It is also calling for the retention of mandatory labeling of shell eggs and recommending that mandatory labeling should be extended to egg products.