Country-of-origin labelling motion launched

Consumers are being urged to write to their MPs to persuade them to support a parliamentary early day motion (EDM) which calls for improved country-of-origin labelling (COOL) on meat and meat products.

The UK has a voluntary code of conduct, but the European Parliament (EP) voted in favour of extending country-of-origin labelling to fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goat and poultry across member states, in July last year.

Food businesses will have three years to adapt to the new rules once the legislation is adopted. However, the EP stopped short of making it obligatory for the packaging to list the country of origin for meat that is used as an ingredient, affecting items from meat pies and sausages to pizzas.

The new EDM, which was tabled by Conservative MP Richard Bacon, follows the advice of the Countryside Alliance Foundation’s report, Honest, Fair, Simple, which argued that labelling should be extended to products where meat constitutes 10% of the product, while single-country labelling should be used only where animals are born, reared and slaughtered in that country.

It argues that tightening the controls on meat labelling will level the playing field for British farmers and enable consumers to make informed choices to support home-produced food, which it says is produced to the highest standards of animal welfare, health and safety and environmental protection.

To date, 30 cross-party MPs have signed the motion.

Agriculture minister Jim Paice has previously called for the law to be tightened after Defra conducted a survey into the UK’s voluntary code of conduct, agreed in November 2010.

> E-petition demands clearer labelling on meat

>Warning on COOL protectionism

>EU votes for country of origin labelling

>Voluntary country of origin labelling deemed insufficient


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