‘Principles on Country of Origin Information’ aims to bring others into line to ensure a higher quality and consistency of origin – information everywhere that consumers buy food.
The Principles apply to products such as sausages, bacon and ham and ensure that the term ‘British’ can only be used for meat from animals born and reared in the UK.
Andrew Opie, BRC food director, said: “We have taken leadership on this issue, because we believe it’s important that all elements of the supply chain, from food processors and restaurants, right through to the catering firms working for government and councils, give consumers the information they need to make informed decisions. Supermarkets are making it easy for those shoppers who want to buy British to do so. Other foodservice providers need to up their game.”
Food and farming minister Jim Paice added that he was pleased that a large number of food companies had already committed to follow the principles agreed and encouraged others to do so. “These principles will mean a consistency of information that will reduce confusion and ensure British consumers will be the best informed in Europe.”
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has added its supported to the voluntary principles on country-of-origin labelling developed by the industry and facilitated by Defra.
Julian Hunt, FDF communications director, said: “We agree that consumers should not be misled with regard to the origin of a food product and our members are committed to providing clear, honest labelling. The new voluntary principles build on current legislation to provide even clearer labelling for consumers.”
The retailers who have signed up to the Principles are Asda, the Co-operative Group incorporating Somerfield, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
Morrisons corporate affairs Richard Taylor added: “We support the principles on country-of-origin labelling announced today by the British Retail Consortium. Our customers want to make informed choices and that is why Morrisons is providing clear information about where our meat and dairy products are sourced. We already do this on our entire range of fresh British meat, which is all from animals that are reared throughout their lives in Britain, as well as fresh liquid milk. We have also made good progress in providing country-of-origin labelling on our processed meat products, ready-meals and dairy.”