Compulsory 'Place of Farming' Labelling

UK - With one fell swoop Brussels may be about to solve the labelling problems that have dogged the British pig industry.
calendar icon 8 May 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

In the latest draft of its Agricultural Product Quality paper, the agriculture directorate says all European Union agricultural products should carry a compulsory “place of farming“ label.

More detail about the plan will be published on 27 May — but if the proposal becomes compulsory it will put an end to consumers being misled by the legal practice of labelling bacon and ham made from imported pigmeat as “British“.

It will also blow the cover of retailers and processors who in the past have used tertiary brands with British-sounding names to make imported pork products appear British.

British pork and pork products enjoy a natural quality premium of around ten percent and dressing up imported product as British has probably cost producers 3millions over the past decade, by diluting demand for British pigs.

Brussels produced an Agriculture Product Quality consultation document last year, which was reported widely in Pig World and on this website (Do you produce European pork or British pork?) in an attempt to persuade all pig industry organisations, and many individual producers, to make submissions stressing the importance of honest labelling.

In recent months honest labelling has become an important issue for consumers.

The Conservatives have introduced their Honest Food campaign. They believe there is case, under European law, for the United Kingdom to be allowed to pass its own country-of-origin law.

For ten years Labour administrations have claimed European regulations do not allow Britain to clean up its labelling laws. Currently, government is pinning its hopes on a voluntary arrangement with retailers.

Neither the Conservative nor Labour approach has an outstandingly high chance of success. But if Brussels confirms later this month that the way ahead is compulsory “place of farming“ labelling, British pig-keepers may just find their dreams have been answered (and by the one organisation they least expected to champion country-of-origin labelling).

Further Reading

- You can view the Agriculture Product Quality consultation document by clicking here.
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