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12 February 2015
EU push for meat labelling transparency

EU push for meat labelling transparency

The European Parliament has passed a resolution calling for clearer labelling on meat products so consumers know where it is from and whether it is processed.

The bid is an attempt to rebuild consumer confidence in food standards in the wake of the horse-meat scandal.

The non-binding resolution,  which would inform customers where the animal was raised and slaughtered in the production of processed meat, was passed by 460 votes to 204, allowing the Parliament to approach the European Commission to make mandatory labelling compulsory.

Similar labelling already exists for fresh beef, with labelling for pork and chicken in place later this year.

Pauline Constant of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) said: “Being transparent by saying where the meat comes from can benefit not only consumers but also the food industry. One should keep in mind the cost of lost consumer confidence.

“The sales of frozen ready meals dropped in the aftermath of the horsemeat scandal, costing industry a lot of money. A more transparent meat supply chain might be the price to pay to restore consumer trust.”

SNP MEP Alyn Smith, a member of EU Agricultural Committee, supported the move.

He said: “This is essentially the processors being encouraged to simplify their supply chain and ensure the raw materials they receive are authentic and traceable. Put simply, this is what they should have been doing all along.

“We already label fresh beef, and from April this will apply to fresh meat from pigs, sheep, poultry and goats. So why not ravioli and lasagne?

“This will help to ensure stability between farmers and processors, and means consumers can easily choose to buy local produce instead of meat that’s been transported hundreds of miles.”

Also - see Liam Kirkaldy’s Parliamentary sketch on the Holyrood Chamber’s attempts to debate food standards

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