September 22, 2009

Tesco backs country-of-origin meat labelling

The UK's biggest retailer Tesco backed the country-of-origin meat labelling campaign, aiming to ensure food labels have better information to tell consumers where meat products come from.


Tesco and Morrisons pledged to implement measures called for by the Tories' Honest Food Campaign, including labels which spell out the origin of meat from abroad, Shadow Environment Secretary Nick Herbert said.


However, Tories were prepared to legislate on requirements for better country-of-origin labelling if a voluntary agreement could not be achieved "across the board'', Herbert said.


In January, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn described the current EU system, under which a pork pie made from Danish pork could be labelled British if it was processed in this country, as "nonsense''.


The government was pressing for improvements to European rules to show where an animal was born, reared and slaughtered, and meeting with the food industry in a bid to bring in voluntary country of origin labelling, Benn said


Herbert accused the government of being "feeble'' over the issue of improving food labelling so consumers could see clearly where their meat come from.


People wanted clear information about where their food comes from and the supermarkets were responding, and the demand for greater transparency of food labelling was an unstoppable campaign, Herbert said.

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