Meat processors battle mandatory labels

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Labelling meat ingredients with country of origin will prove challenging. Sign up for our free, one-hour webinar on the EU's new labelling rules by emailing michael.stones@wrbm.com
Labelling meat ingredients with country of origin will prove challenging. Sign up for our free, one-hour webinar on the EU's new labelling rules by emailing michael.stones@wrbm.com
Meat processors in the UK are set against the mandatory origin labelling of meat used as an ingredient, according to the director of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) Stephen Rossides.

Rossides’ statement came after the European Commission’s (EC’s) report was published last month, which called for a debate about extending mandatory origin labelling of meat to meat that was used as an ingredient in food products.

According to Rossides, labelling meat used as ingredients with its country of origin would be “onerous” ​and costly for the food industry.

The EC’s report came after it implemented country of origin labelling (COOL) rules for fresh pig, sheep, goats and poultry meat on December 13, 2013. The new legislation will apply from April 1 2015.

‘Reasonably satisfied’

Rossides said the BMPA was “reasonably”​ satisfied with mandatory labelling of fresh unprocessed meat. He said it was an intermediate approach and “overall it is not as bad as it could have been”.

However, he stated: “We have concerns about the labelling of meat used as an ingredient and we are not in favour of it.”

Some food products that contained meat may be more complicated to origin label than others, he explained. If a product is made up of meat that comes from different Member States, then the task becomes “onerous and potentially costly​”.

There needed to be a balance between what consumers wanted and how easy it was to provide that information, he added.

‘90% of consumers’

According to EC statistics, 90% of consumers asked are interested in origin labelling of meat as an ingredient. However, this number dropped to between 60–80% if it meant they had to pay 10% more for a product.

The EC said: “On the basis of the discussions with EU Member States and the European Parliament, the Commission will consider what, if any, appropriate next steps should be taken.”

Meanwhile, the Food Manufacture Group is staging a free, one-hour webinar on the EU's new food labelling rules, due to be enforced later this year, at 11am GMT on Thursday February 20. Book your place at the webinar – which will feature speakers from Premier Foods, Campden BRI, Trading Standards Institute and event sponsor, law firm DWF –by emailing zvpunry.fgbarf@jeoz.pbz​. More information about the event is available here​. 

Related topics: Meat, poultry & seafood, Legal

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