UK pork labelling practices tightened

A new code of practice on the labelling of pork products is to be drawn up following an agreement by pork producers, processors and retailers.

The announcement was made by Defra after an agreement was reached by members of the Pig Meat Supply Chain Task Force, which was brought together by Defra to address issues concerning the sector, including labelling, environmental performance, and competitiveness.

Bpex chief executive Mick Sloyan said: This is a very significant step forward by all elements of the pig meat supply chain to provide consumers with even greater confidence in what they purchase.

Bpex has long championed the need for unambiguous consumer choice. This voluntary code will reassure consumers that, when they buy British pork products, they will have been produced to our high welfare and exacting quality standards.

The new code of practice, when introduced, will force companies who have signed up to the code to clearly display the origin of the pork on the front of the packet. Meanwhile, a declaration that the meat is, for example, British, will mean that the animal was born, reared, and slaughtered in Britain.

Defra added that this will mean there will also be an end to ambiguous terms such as Produced in the UK, as the origin of the meat will be declared.

Jim Fitzpatrick, farming minister, said: This agreement is great news for consumers and the whole supply chain.

It means that if you buy bacon or sausages from a retailer who has signed up to the code, then youll know exactly where the meat has come from.

Its also helpful for the supply chain from farm to fork, because there will be consistent definitions that the industry can use.

The code of practice is set to be finalised at the Task Force meeting in February 2010, at which time pig producers, processors, retailers and the foodservice sector will be invited to sign up to the pledge.

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