MEPs demand country of origin labelling of meat in processed foods

Food safety MEPs have voted 48-15 in favour of the introduction country of origin labelling for meat used as an ingredient in processed foods, as is already the case for bovine fresh meat.

The pro-labelling vote was taken by the European Parliament’s environment, public health and food safety committee in Brussels this week, resulting in a call on the European Commission (EC) to produce “legislative proposals in order to rebuild consumer confidence in the wake of the horsemeat scandal and other food fraud cases”.

A resolution, passed by the committee, has urged the EC to follow up its own December 2013 report on processed meat labelling by producing legislative proposals to make it mandatory to state the country of origin of meat used in processed foods, in order to ensure more transparency throughout the food chain and better inform European consumers.

“MEPs reiterate their concern over the potential impact of food fraud on food safety, consumer confidence and health, the functioning of the food chain and farm produce prices,” said a committee statement. “They emphasise the importance of rapidly restoring the confidence of European consumers.

“MEPs also point out that the EC’s own report acknowledges that more than 90% of consumer respondents consider it important that meat origin should be labelled on processed food products. This is one of the several factors that may influence consumer behaviour.”

The resolution will now be discussed through an oral question to the Commission and put to a plenary session vote in the European Parliament in February.

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