Major processed pork producer moves to improve labeling on its products

May 15 2018

Primo, a JBS-owned company and the largest producer of processed pork products in Australia, has agreed to improve its labeling on pork products.

Primo processed pork is widely available in supermarkets across Australia.

At the beginning of our global Raise Pigs Right campaign last month, we urged Primo to tell its consumers which countries it import pork from, because welfare standards for pigs in Australia higher than several of the countries that Primo source its pork from.

What has Primo promised?

Australia's pig industry is on its way to being sow stall free, however most ham and bacon is imported and includes pork from countries where most mother pigs spend their lives in steel cages.

The current Country of Origin Labelling laws don't require information on which country imported pork comes from, so consumers have no way of avoiding countries that use cruel cages for mother pigs – known as sow stalls – for the entire pregnancy.

Individual mother pig in a gestation cage, most of the floor is solid. A portion at the end is slatted floor in order to drain the faecal waste and urine. Floors seem to be damaged as a result of the constant use, this rough floor can also cause hoof problems and body lesions.

Our team wrote to Primo, asking it to label products to make it clear if they contain pork from Europe or from North America.

While the European Union has banned the use of these sow stalls for the entire pregnancy, they remain commonplace in the US and Canada, where Primo sources much of its pork.

This labeling would give consumers the information they need to choose pork that comes from countries that have limited use of sow stalls.

Individual gestation cage, with “trough drinker” and a combination of solid and slatted floor. Due to size, some mother pigs do not fit in to the cage and have to rest using part of the drinker to position the head. Mother pigs not able to turn around or socialize.

Within days of our petition launching in Australia, Primo wrote back to say it would agree to our request by phasing in labeling which details that the pork is of European origin only, for all products where this is the case.

The European Directive limits the use of sow stalls for pigs during pregnancy to 28 days only.

This labeling change will apply to much of Primo's bacon products, and will be done by January 2019.

We're pushing Primo to update their website information before then.

Mother pig in a lactation pen (straw available as enrichment material). Piglets remain in the covered spot to keep them warm. Both mother pig and piglets can move around, explore and socialize. Bars are positioned in order to protect piglets from being squashed by the mother pig.

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This labeling change will apply to much of Primo's bacon products, and will be done by January 2019.