MPs show their vote for British beef

The National Beef Association (NBA) has gained the support of nearly 100 MPs for their campaign to get meats from different countries separated and clearly marked on supermarket shelves.

An Early Day Motion (EDM) has been signed by the MPs, which the NBA said 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.

Some supermarkets mix lower-priced imported meat with home-produced meat.The EDM was sponsored by shadow agriculture spokesman, James Paice, after discussions with the NBA and constituency MP, Peter Atkinson, of Hexham in Northumberland.

The NBA 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. MPs 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.

Robert Forster, NBA chief executive said: "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.

"Too many consumers have complained that while it was their intention to buy the British product they mistakenly purchased meat from another country and were unhappy about this because they were unsure of its environmental, welfare, or quality credentials.

"We are disappointed that some multiples would like to resist the LACORS advice and have asked the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to press for a softer approach to co-mingling."

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