Country of origin labelling needed on processed meat products- Lynn Boylan MEP
Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan has today called on the European Commission to meet citizens' demands for robust country of origin labelling on food.
Speaking in a debate in Parliament's Environment committee, Ms Boylan highlighted that consumer confidence was at an all-time low as a result of controversies like last year's horsemeat scandal.
"It's increasingly clear that people want to know where the meat they eat has been produced. Consumers across Europe want country of origin labelling on the food they purchase, up to 90% of people within the EU want it. Consumers want every stage of the animals growth accounted for, from its birth on a farm to the country where it is slaughtered.
This figure rises to 95% in Ireland based on recent research completed by Love Irish Food.
"The horsemeat scandal was caused by fraudulent criminal activity but we must look at the conditions in which it took place: the aftermath of the scandal revealed that supermarkets have little knowledge of the true provenance of the meat they sell as a result of murky and complex food chains which cross many borders.
Contrary to claims made by industry, in Ireland following the horsemeat scandal and the pork dioxin scandal of 2008, consumers began switching to their local butchers as they could trace the burger or sausage back to the animal. Also over 40,000 farmers and 150 producers use the Bord Bia Quality Assurance labelling system which indicates country of Origin because it is good for their business!
Boylan called on the Commission to stop putting forward questionable cost estimates for the introduction of country of origin labelling for meat in processed foods and to instead focus on seeking to enhance traceability along the food chain, from farm to fork.
“There are varying reports from industry making ridiculous suggestions that labelling could increase the cost of food by up to 50%. In fact other reports have shown that it would represent an increase of as little as 0.01c on a product.
"The Commission must not ignore the citizens, MEPs and consumers groups who have all called for legislative proposals that include meat used as an ingredient for origin labelling. We have an opportunity now to restore consumer confidence in food products through robust origin labelling – it is essential that we grasp it."