MPs back calls for meat grouping by country of origin in supermarkets

Almost 100 MPS have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) backing the physical separation of meat from different countries of origin on supermarket shelves.

Almost 100 MP's representing all the major political parties, have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM), backing the physical separation of meat from different countries of origin on supermarket shelves.

The unusually high number of signatories confirms strong House of Commons opinion that multiple retailers should not flout Article 16 of EU Regulation 178/2002 which sets out rules governing the on-shelf presentation of meat and meat products from different countries of origin.

This move represents a setback for those supermarkets which continue to prefer to mix lower priced imported meat with high provenance home produced product.

The EDM was sponsored by shadow agriculture spokesman, James Paice, after discussions with the National Beef Association (NBA) and its constituency MP, Peter Atkinson, of Hexham in Northumberland.

The NBA had complained that supermarkets were ignoring the EU Regulation which demands that the arrangement and setting in which retail packages are displayed should not mislead consumers.

MP's have now added their backing to advice for retailers from Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) specialists that meat packs should be grouped together by country of origin and there should be some form of obvious and clearly identifiable physical division, such as a plastic strip, between them.

"The 95 signatories to the EDM also made clear their view that informed consumer choice is central to the effective marketing of high integrity, high provenance, home produced meat and this becomes difficult, if not impossible, if it is indiscriminately mixed, or co-mingled, with imports," said NBA chief executive Robert Forster.

"The BRC and LACORS are now aware of the strength of Parliamentary opinion on this issue. They should also understand that the Food Standards Agency has also been informed of the NBA's unease that the retail display requirements spelled out in Article 16 of EU Regulation 178/2002 are being ignored by some companies," Forster added.

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