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Country of origin labelling for meat products essential- Lynn Boylan MEP

10 February, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has spoken in the EU parliament in Strasbourg tonight about the urgent need for legislation for origin labelling for all meat, including meat as an ingredient.

Ms Boylan said:

“Almost exactly two years after the horsemeat scandal exploded across Europe, we are calling on the slumbering Commission to wake up and propose legislation for origin labelling for all meat, including meat as an ingredient. The horsemeat scandal was the biggest food fraud of the 21st century exposing the lengthy, complex and often very murky extremes of food chains in Europe.

It is astounding that that some of the biggest supermarkets just apologised and simply claimed that they didn’t know where the meat they sold had come. Whilst this scandal was caused by criminal activity it underlined the extremely poor levels of traceability in the food chain for consumers to know where their food is coming from.  90% of consumers want to know the origin of their meat, both fresh and processed. This is a demand which has pre-dated the horsemeat scandal and is still unfulfilled.

The European Commission need to stop being apologists for the corporate food industry and start acting to defend and represent the interests of the citizens they supposedly work for.  It would do well to avoid bleating out the big food industry’s arguments against and seek to implement as soon as possible what citizens and consumers groups have been calling for, for years.

The Commission claims in its 2013 report that production costs could vastly increase from between 15%-50% yet consumer groups have shown the opposite to be true finding that labelling the processed meat within a lasagne would cost just €0.015.

In Ireland, our voluntary labelling scheme, which includes meat in processed meals, has been a remarkable success with almost 40,000 producers and 122 processors currently involved, a perfect example of the appeal and benefit to businesses such labelling can have.

The continued absence of mandatory labelling leaves too many opportunities to dishonest food manufacturers to give misleading representations of where the food they sell comes from. Terms like 'Irish recipes' 'traditional' 'farmhouse' and local are used for products which are not produced in the country

The European Commission needs to stop sticking its head in the sand and start listening to what consumers and this Parliament are calling for. “

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