IDIA warns that origin labelling will hurt sector
MANDATORY country or farm of origin labelling on milk could damage Ireland's dairy industry, the Irish Dairy Industries Association (IDIA) has warned.
As an exporting country targeting post-quota expansion, mandatory labelling could restrict Ireland's access to the 540m consumers in the European market, Michael Barry, IDIA chief executive, has cautioned.
The High Level Group (HLG) on milk last week recommended that the European Commission to "consider the feasibility of different options for obligatory/ voluntary place of farming labelling of basic primary dairy products".
The IDIA concerns follow a vote by the European Parliament last week to extend country of origin labelling to dairy products.
The European Dairy Association has condemned the move, saying country of origin labelling would discourage EU trade, reduce sourcing flexibility, and force companies to change labels regularly. The bill will now pass to the Council and then it is likely to return to parliament for a second reading before becoming law.
"IDIA does not see any need for additional labelling on origin. It would undermine the internal market and hinder free trade," said Mr Barry.
The IDIA has also criticised the HLG's report for failing to develop a broader reflection on the competitiveness of the whole sector, beyond discussions on bargaining power at the first step of the chain.