Shoppers get 'country of origin' labelling boost
Published 12/07/2011 | 05:00
Irish shoppers can no longer be misled about where their meat comes from after the European Parliament voted to make country of origin labelling mandatory for fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry.
Under existing EU rules, origin labelling of certain foods such as beef, honey, olive oil, fresh fruit and vegetables is already mandatory.
Members of parliament voted by 606 to 46 in favour of the new labelling requirement and once the legislation is published in the EU Official Journal, food companies will have three years to comply with the rules. Under the new EU rules, meat consisting of combined meat parts must be labelled as "formed meat" and the same will apply to "formed fish".
However, the parliament stopped short of making country of origin labelling compulsory for meat that is used as an ingredient, for example, as a pizza topping.
"Country of origin labelling could in future be extended to other categories of food such as meat when used as an ingredient, milk or unprocessed foods, but the commission must first do impact assessments to weigh up the feasibility and potential costs of doing this," a spokesperson for the European Parliament stressed.
IFA president John Bryan welcomed the European parliament's decision.
Mr Bryan has now called for retailers and butchers to immediately move to implement country of origin labelling for all meats.