Union calls for greater origin labelling on processed beef
Improved country of origin labelling (COOL) on processed beef products is needed to allow shoppers to support Scottish farmers and crofters.
In a letter to the Defra Minister George Eustice, NFU Scotland has made it clear that shoppers must have the ability to identify where the beef they are buying comes from, whether fresh or processed.
Scottish beef farmers and crofters have specifically raised the issue of origin labelling on processed food products where beef makes up one of the main ingredients of that product as such a measure would enable the consumer to support domestic beef production whilst enhancing transparency in the marketplace.
Scottish beef is an industry leader in quality, animal welfare and in environmental delivery, and it is the view of NFU Scotland that the UK Government should act to allow shoppers to tell through clear labelling whether or not a product contains home produced beef.
Scotland’s beef farmers are currently experiencing a three year low in prices for prime cattle and following a national stakeholder meeting held by NFU Scotland last week the Union has produced a six point action plan to drive change that will improve the market situation.
One of the six action points is to improve country of origin labelling on processed beef products, which would allow the consumers to support domestic production no matter what kind of beef product they are buying.
NFU Scotland believes this is an area which the UK Government could legislate upon the UK’s departure from the European Union and has written to Defra Minister George Eustice MP.
NFU Scotland Livestock chair Jimmy Ireland said: “Consumers need to be able to be confident when they are buying beef products that they are getting high quality, high welfare, environmentally considerate Scottish beef with low food miles.
“Although we have strong regulations on the labelling of fresh beef products there are significant weaknesses in the regulations surrounding processed beef which too easily allows for imported beef to be used without the consumer being aware.
“Improving the country of origin labelling on processed beef products will not only improve consumer confidence, it will also improve the transparency within the supply chain as consumers will have confidence in where all their beef products come from.
“Clearer origin labelling should also be progressed for processed lamb, pork and chicken products so that the Scottish public can support domestic livestock production across the sectors
“Scottish shoppers want to buy Scottish and we want to guarantee they can week in, week out.”