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Country-of-Origin Debate Back on EU Agenda

by 5m Editor
24 March 2011, at 11:20am

EU - The debate surrounding country of origin labelling on meat and meat products is back on the agenda, accompanied by renewed lobbying from the NFU's Brussels office.

Last week, MEPs on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee began their second reading of a European Commission proposal on food labelling.

Katy Lee from the NFU Brussels office once again urged MEPs to back the call for honest labelling.

“Countless surveys have proved that consumers want to buy more home-grown and home-reared produce," she said.

"We need honest and clear labelling so that they can make that choice.

“It is crazy that a chicken sandwich can be labelled as British even if the chicken has come from Thailand.

“UK farming unions were successful in their attempts to include country of origin labelling in the first reading, but a failure to reach general agreement with the European Council means the Council text has been returned to MEPs for further refining.

“We will now lobby the key MEPs to make sure country of origin labelling remains in the text."

Labour MEP Glenis Willmott used the opening debate to reiterate her commitment on the issue.

But opposition to the proposals remain. German MEP and rapporteur Renate Sommer, who will lead the report through the committee, said country of origin labelling was ‘appalling’, ‘nothing short of protectionism’ and ‘puts the single market in jeopardy’.

The committee is expected to vote on its second reading position in April with a full parliamentary vote in July.