Positive EP Vote on Country of Origin Labelling

UK - The Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety voted to push forward with plans to label all meat, poultry, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables with country of origin. Members also backed country of origin labelling for meat, poultry and fish when used as an ingredients in processed foods.
calendar icon 21 April 2011
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NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond said clearer labelling would help consumers to choose food produced to higher standards.

“Shopping trends tell us consumers want to support British produce but under current labelling laws there is no requirement to state the country of origin,” said Mr Raymond.

“It is crazy that you can buy a chicken sandwich processed in Britain and labelled as British even if the chicken has come from Thailand.

“We believe that clear and accurate labelling will allow consumers to make an informed choice and support high welfare and environmental standards. People buying meat and poultry products want to know where the animal was reared so they know exactly what they are eating.”

The vote formed part of the second reading on the Food Information to Consumers legislation after MEPs failed to reach an agreement with the Member State Ministers in the first reading.

Mr Raymond said the NFU Brussels office would now lobby all MEPs to support the rules when the vote comes before full parliament in July.

“We have been lobbying on this issue for years and there is now light at the end of the tunnel. But given some influential UK MEPs did not support today’s country of origin vote it is clear we still have some work to do before July,” he added.

All MEPs will vote on the country of origin laws in a plenary vote July.

The key amendment supported by MEPs

Indication of the country or place of provenance shall be mandatory - (a) where failure to indicate this might mislead the consumer as to the true country or place of provenance of the food, in particular if the information accompanying the food or the label as a whole would otherwise imply that the food has a different country or place of provenance; (b) for all meat and poultry; for milk and dairy products; for fresh fruit and vegetables; for other single-ingredient products; for meat, poultry and fish when used as an ingredient in processed foods.

For meat and poultry, the country or place of provenance may be given as a single place for animals only where the animals have been born, reared and slaughtered in the same country or place. In other cases information on each of the different places of birth, rearing and slaughter shall be given.

Further Reading

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