The NFU will continue to work with the supply chain to ensure that consumers are provided with clear and accurate country of origin labelling (COOL) says the union’s food chain adviser, Helen Hunt.
Writing in a blog on the NFU website, she also said that with Brexit on the horizon there was “no better time” to call for strong national COOL action in relation to British foods.
Ms Hunt was commenting on the issues raised during a recent Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum which included debate on the progress of a two-year COOL trial in France, plus discussion on the fact that while Italy, Lithuania and Portugal have also submitted COOL applications, the European Commission has so far done nothing in response.
“The NFU has written to the Secretary of State, Andrea Leadsom, asking for the introduction of this national measure in the UK,” wrote Ms Hunt (pictured above), adding that AHDB Pork’s strategy director, Mick Sloyan, also used the forum to stress the importance of COOL for the pigmeat sector.
She then recounted a COOL example, given by Mr Sloyan, concerning a product pack label which said in large letters ‘Wiltshire Cured Ham’. The main pack message stated ‘produced in the UK’ and then, in very small letters, it revealed that the contents were ‘made from EU pork’.
“This was sent to trading standards who said it was acceptable,” said Ms Hunt. “The NFU, however, would agree with Mr Sloyan’s priorities for labelling that it is accurate, clear, front of pack and unambiguous, so consumers can make an informed choice.”