February 11, 2014
Members of European Parliament call for stricter origin labelling rules
Members of European Parliament voted in favour of stricter origin labelling rules for fresh, chilled and frozen meat of swine, sheep, goats and poultry.
On February 6, the members of the European Parliament (MEPs) stressed that the new origin labelling rules should be modelled on the stricter ones already in place for beef, so as not to mislead European citizens. The MEP criticised the European Commission for introducing lax origin labelling rules for pigs and poultry. The MEPs rejected in the plenary, Commission's proposal that would allow pork to be labelled as "reared" in an EU country even if the pig had spent only four months in the internal market.
MEP Glenis Willmott (S&D, UK), who drafted the resolution, which was adopted with 368 votes to 207 and 20 abstentions, said. "Consumers want the full picture of the meat supply chain, which is why I am calling for the place of birth, rearing and slaughter to be labelled. Many people want to know whether animals have come from places with good welfare standards, and how far they have been transported, for ethical and environmental reasons. We already have these rules in place for beef and I don't see why we shouldn't have the same for pigs, chickens, sheep and other meat animals."
The MEPs, especially after the recent food scandals including the fraudulent substitution of horse meat for beef, pointed out that the origin of meat is of prime concern to European citizens. Therefore they called on the Commission to withdraw the regulation on the origin labelling rules and to draw up a revised version which includes a mandatory place of birth, rearing and slaughter labelling for those meats, in line with the existing beef origin labelling legislation. MEPs also requested the Commission to delete any exceptions from the implementing rules for minced meat and trimmings.
The European Parliament has repeatedly called the Commission to extend the existing beef origin labelling legislation to other types of meat.