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Introduction of Code Urged to Avoid Pork Mislabelling

by 5m Editor
30 December 2009, at 10:06am

IRELAND - A leading pig producer has called on the Department of Agriculture to follow the example of its counterpart in the UK, which introduced a new code of practice to combat pork there being mislabelled “British“.

Tim Cullinan, who chairs the pig committee of the Irish Farmers’ Association, said a voluntary code had been drawn up in the UK involving producers, processors and retailers, clearly displaying the origin of pork on the front of packages.

Mr Cullinan said the code was a response to the demands of consumers and producers who want the origin of pigmeat products clearly identified – something Irish consumers also wanted.

“It is time a similar code is put in place by the Irish Government. Misleading labelling is costing jobs in this economy, as inferior imports displace quality Irish produce,” he said.

The UK department of agriculture (DEFRA) had acknowledged that misleading labelling was having a serious impact on the livelihoods of pig producers in the UK, according to IrishTimes.com.

The four main multiples – ASDA, Morrisons, Sainburys and Tesco – had signed up to the code, which would put an end to ambiguous labelling, he said.

“This is a significant step forward for the British pig farmer. Just as in this country, the UK pig producer has seen imported meat relabelled as ‘produced in Britain’ after a small amount of processing,” he said.

Mr Cullinan said this was happening in Ireland, and the Irish consumer was being misled continually. “The UK multiples have now realised the value of their own indigenous production. It is about time that the Irish Government took stock of how other countries are helping to save their local food suppliers, and followed suit,” he went on.

“The Department of Agriculture must move immediately to implement a similar code here with the retailer multiples.

“It is unacceptable to producers that Irish consumers who travel up the North to shop have transparent labelling, but in the Republic, the consumer will not have the same information,” he concluded.

The British code of practice is set to be finalised at a taskforce meeting in February 2010, at which time pig producers, processors, retailers and the food service sector will be invited to sign up to it.