EU implements country-of-origin labelling for meat and poultry

Country-of-origin labelling (COOL) laws come into effect today (1 April) across the European Union, requiring all packaged unprocessed meat products to be labelled where the animal was reared and slaughtered.

The new legislation affects fresh, chilled and frozen meat from sheep, goats, pigs and poultry. COOL legislation for beef is in already in place, which also includes where the animal was born.

The legislation does not apply to processed meats. However the European Commission has come under pressure from the European Parliament to introduce similar mandatory labelling for meat used as an ingredient in processed foods. This has been rejected by members of the British meat industry as being too difficult and costly to impose.

Research conducted by the European Commission suggested that more than 90% of consumers thought it was important that meat products were labelled.

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