Eating Out? Ask Where Your Steak's From!

UK - Gordon Ramsay today launches a new industry initiative designed to ensure consumers get more information about the origin of the meat they eat when they dine out.
calendar icon 21 October 2003
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The Best Practice Guidelines for labelling the origin of meat on menus have been developed by the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) with the support of the National Consumer Council, Local Authority Coordinating Office on Regulatory Services (LACORS) and the Food Standards Agency.

Already catering operators, pubs and independent catering outlets across the country have pledged to back the new guidelines.

And Gordon Ramsay's world famous restaurant at Claridge’s is itself backing the move and will today host a special lunch for industry and consumer representatives. Gordon Ramsay said: “As a chef, I am proud of my ingredients, and want to tell my customers where they come from.

“I believe customers have the right to be told, wherever they eat out, the origin of the meat on their plates. That's why I'm backing this campaign.“

Prime Minister Tony Blair threw his weight behind the campaign when he said: “I congratulate the MLC for leading this initiative to give people more choice and information when eating out."

Research by the Meat and Livestock Commission shows that 71% of those dining out think their meat is British, when only around 40% really is.

MLC Marketing Director, Richard Lowe, said: “This initiative is all about clear consumer labelling.

“There is a duty not to mislead consumers. The fact is that, more often than not, customers are being served foreign meat when most think it is British.

“We are saying: ‘Be open with your customers, so they can make informed choices.'

“The foodservice sector has everything to gain and nothing to lose from greater openness with the customer.

“The beauty of these best practice guidelines is their simplicity. And this is the result of very helpful and practical feedback from consumer organisations and foodservice companies in developing them.“

Welcoming the initiative, Deirdre Hutton, Chairman of the National Consumer Council, said: “Increasingly, consumers want to know where the meat on their plates comes from. “NCC is therefore supporting these guidelines as a practical way of getting information to consumers about the origin of meat in restaurants, pubs and canteens.

“It is important that these guidelines are adopted widely by the industry and that their take-up is monitored.

“NCC is looking at ways we could help the MLC assess the value and impact of this initiative through our network of consumer volunteers.“

Coucillor Geoffrey Theobald OBE, Chair of LACORS said: “We are concerned at the mismatch between what consumers eating out think they are getting in terms of red meat and what they are actually offered.

“This initiative will bring useful information to consumers which, based on market research, they clearly wish to receive.

“It will also benefit the trade by increasing transparency and boosting consumer confidence.

“LACORS will continue to work with the MLC to ensure that the guidance is fully implemented and will monitor compliance on a regular basis.“

To download a copy of menu transparency guidelines, Click here

Source: British Pig Executive - 20th October 2003

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