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'Produce of EU' Label Gathers Momentum

by 5m Editor
13 March 2009, at 7:21am

UK - Pig meat products carrying a British country of origin label earn a significant premium and some would argue it is the presence of such a label—usually the Quality Standard Mark or the Red Tractor—that has kept British pig producers in business over the past decade.

There may be some concern among producers, therefore, at the news that compulsory European Union/Non-European Union labelling is beginning to look a really possibility and may be formally promoted in a Commission communication in May, which will prepare the path for legislation.

Compulsory European Union/Non-European Union labelling was one of the ideas in recebnt Brussels’ green paper consultation (covered in depth in Pig World) on agricultural product quality. And now it's made a second appearance in a Brussels working paper.

Whilst British consumers, producers and some politicians are not alone in Europe in desiring mandatory country of origin labelling, the agriculture directorate general is much more interested in differentiating European products from third country products, in readiness for when tariff walls come down.

European Union/Non-European Union labelling is harmless in itself—many pig meat products already carry this information—but it could be argued that compulsory labelling, probably accompanied by a logo, may give some retailers the excuse they need to be less supportive of national quality assurance schemes.