DEFRA announces mandatory country of origin labelling

DEFRA announces mandatory country of origin labelling

DEFRA has announced it is making country of origin of labelling mandatory, which will include meat.

Food and Farming Minister, David Heath said: “The Government is tightening up rules to make it easier for shoppers to make more informed decisions for themselves and their families at the tills.

“We fought long and hard in Europe for more honest labelling so that people can make up their own minds about what they eat.

“We are making it easier for consumers to know what’s in the food and drink that they buy, while at the same time cutting red tape for businesses.”

BMPA director, Stephen Rossides, feels mandatory country of origin labelling of fresh meat has the potential to present a real problem for meat products. He told Meat Management: “We are very wary of mandatory origin labelling and, in particular, mandatory country of origin labelling. Country of origin labelling strikes us as contrary to EU single market principles and can be used for protectionist or jingoistic reasons. It can also add to the regulatory burdens and costs on businesses. And do consumers really want mandatory country of origin labelling? Aren’t nutritional, compositional and food safety information more important? More research needs to be carried out to establish consumers’ real needs and expectations.”
DEFRA says the regulations enforce the European regulation on food labelling where rules are made to ensure:

  • consumers are told where their meat is from by providing Country of Origin Labelling (subject to Commission rules);
  • information is written in minimum font size that is easy to read on labels;
  • that food containing nanomaterial ingredients needs to state that clearly on the label.
  • that businesses state the plant origin of the oil in the product, for example palm oil;

DEFRA also said it intends for costs to be kept to a minimum by ensuring industry has a reasonable period of time to implement the changes. This means that rather than having to immediately re-label every single product to comply with the law, businesses can absorb the legislative requirements into their planned re-labelling cycle.
There are still some final decisions to be made about how to implement these Food Information Regulations and the Government is asking businesses and interested people to join the conversation and respond to the consultation.

Previous / Next posts...