Consumers across Europe will have to be told where the vast majority of their meat has come from, under new EU rules
The European Parliament has just approved new food labelling laws, designed to help consumers make more informed choices. Under the present system the origin of certain foods, such as beef and olive oil, has to be shown on the label. However this has now been updated to include fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goat and poultry.
Food labels will have to clearly spell out the energy, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugar, protein and salt levels of all food items. Producers will also have to indicate the type of vegetable oil used, while imitation foods – such as oil-based cheese – will have to be clearly marked.
The new uniform system will be implemented over the next five years across all 27 member states, and is the result of fierce debate and years of lobbying from food provenance campaigners.
However, some organisations believe the changes don't go far enough. "While it’s good news that the European Parliament has agreed that the origin of fresh and frozen meat will have to be labelled, I am disappointed that some items, including milk and milk products, have not immediately been included in this package,” says Richard Lochhead, rural affairs secretary of the Scottish Parliament.
“Our position on origin labelling is long established, seeking mandatory origin labelling for meat, meat products and dairy products. We believe it’s important that Scottish consumers should be given the information they need to make informed choices about the food and drink they buy,” he adds.