Our research has shown that the majority of people are interested in knowing where their food comes from, particularly when it comes to meat products.
As many of our regulars will know, our lobbying can often have a European focus – particularly when decisions made in Europe have a big impact on consumers purchasing decisions in the UK. We’ve been calling on the UK Members of European Parliament to protect your right to food origin labelling, along with other consumer groups across the European Union.
Origin labelling on meat
The European Commission has been debating how far origin labelling for meat and meat products should go. When we buy beef we can see where the animal was born, reared and slaughtered because that’s what’s legally required.
But under new rules, recently agreed by EU Member States, the legal minimum for other types of meat could be just to show the country of rearing and slaughter. The place of birth is therefore excluded under the new rules. The place of rearing in the case of pigs, for example, only needs to cover the last four months where it spent its life. We think this could be confusing as a product could say ‘reared in UK; slaughtered in UK’, but have been born and spent the first part of its life somewhere else.
— BEUC (@beuctweet) January 21, 2014
Thanks to a vote in the European Parliament, your right to access more straightforward information could be protected. The European Parliament has taken a different view – and rejected the new rules, calling for a new proposal.
We’re calling on the European Commission to act and improve the information available on the birth, rearing and slaughter of animals. And in the shorter-term, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs needs to reach an agreement across the industry so that industry provides fuller information and people are not misled.
Do you buy your food products based on their country of origin? How much would you like to know about your food item’s supply chain to allow you to make an informed choice?