Following a recent motion passed in the Northern Ireland Assembly, calling for COOL to be introduced in the country, LMC chairman Pat O’Rourke has emphasised how important COOL is to the Northern Ireland red meat industry.
O'Rourke said that country-of-origin labelling and traceability would have reduced the impact of last year’s dioxin contamination, which resulted in "confusion and fear" among retailers and consumers.
"Clear country-of-origin labelling and traceability could have minimised the impact and maintained a level of assurance to the wider public. Proof, if proof is needed, that country-of-origin labelling through the food supply chain, from farmer to consumer, is essential,” he said.
A recent survey commissioned by the LMC to establish whether origin of beef is important to foodservice consumers has shown that 59% of consumers believed it important to display country of origin of beef in hotels and restaurants, while one-third stated that knowing where their beef came from was important, because it gave them an indication of quality.
Restaurants and hotels also surveyed revealed that almost three-quarters are in favour of introducing country-of-origin labelling and one-quarter of eateries are already using a form of origin labelling on their menus, while 66% suggested that they would consider introducing it or continue to use it.