Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Euro fight for food labelling

From Landworker magazine 

Linda McAvan, the Labour MEP spokesperson on food safety, is continuing her determined battle to improve food origin labelling after the European Commission failed to include it within a package of proposed measures designed to protect against food fraud in the wake of the horse meat scandal.

The Commission proposes slashing from 70 to five the current legislative pieces relating to the food supply chain. Tougher fines would be introduced for lawbreakers. It also wants to discuss whether to include country of origin labelling to all meat products, including processed meat products in future legislation. A new study has been ordered to help with the discussions. 

It was two years ago when Labour MEPs won the backing of the European Parliament for new European rules to improve labelling; including extending them to ensure fresh meat was labelled with the country of origin. EU Ministers however gave in to pressure from food manufacturers, who claimed this would be too difficult to implement and failed to back the changes.  

According to Linda McAvan this was a mistake as, “if Findus had been obliged to label the origin of the beef in its lasagne, my guess is that it would have paid much greater attention to its sourcing policies. Only now that the scandal has impacted on sales are large retailers having to think again about labelling where their meat comes from in an attempt to rebuild consumer confidence.”  Findus was just one of a long list of companies – including Tesco and Asda – that were caught up in the horse meat scandal earlier this year.

McAvan, whose labelling plans recently received the endorsement of Consumer watchdog WHICH, said: “Labour MEPS will carefully consider new proposals on food labelling by the Commission but we will not have closed any of the necessary loopholes until we have a commitment to label the origin of all meats, including processed meats.” 

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