Country of Origin Labelling Breakthrough

by 5m Editor
2 June 2009, at 11:43am

UK - Retailers and processors opposed the move, but compulsory country of origin labelling has moved a step closer, with the publication of European Commission proposals on agricultural product quality.

In responses to a consultation last year, many consumers and farmers called for labelling that identifies where an agricultural product, such as pork, is farmed.

After studying the consultation responses, the Commission was minded to come down in favour of a compulsory “place of farming“ label, which would be a major gain for the British pig industry.

Processors and retailers opposed such a measure, saying it would be difficult to track the farming origins of ingredients in processed foods. But today the Commission has sided with consumers. It promises it will address place of farming labelling.

"To respond to many consumers’ and farmers’ preferences for labelling that identifies the place where agricultural product was farmed, the Commission will consider appropriate labelling within marketing standards for agricultural products," it says in its paper on Agricultural Product Quality Policy.

Brussels embarked on an Agriculture Product Quality consultation last year. In recent months honest labelling has become an important issue for consumers. The Conservatives have introduced their Honest Food campaign. They believe there is a case, under European law, for the United Kingdom to be allowed to pass its own country-of-origin law.