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24/03/14 16:34

Fighting food fraud

Support for extending labelling scheme to meat used in processed products.

Following the horse meat scandal, the overriding principle in food labelling must be to protect consumers from food fraud.

That is the clear position of the Scottish Government as the European (EU) Parliament and the EU Council consider a report, carried out by the EU Commission, into the feasibility of extending mandatory country of origin information to meat used as an ingredient in processed foods. Country of origin labelling currently only applies to fresh and frozen meat.

Speaking from EU Council in Brussels where the issue is being discussed, Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“When it comes to food labelling, the overwhelming demand from consumers is that they want to know they are getting what it says on the packet. Whether that is a prime cut of meat or frozen lasagne, there is no difference in the standards they expect.

“Across Europe we must learn lessons from the horse meat fiasco and reassure consumers that we are doing all we can to protect them from a repeat of that incident.

“By extending the successful country of origin labelling from fresh and frozen meat into processed foods we can offer consumers more protection and confidence that they are getting what the product tells them they are getting.

“It is disappointing that the initial Commission report raises costs as a potential issue and this has immediately been jumped upon by Member States including the UK as a reason to not bring forward this legislation. I believe that this issue must be kept alive and it should be possible to find a way to do this throughout the EU in a cost-effective manner which will protect consumers and producers from falling victim to future food fraud.”