EU should consider voluntary COOL: Hilary Benn
January 15, 2009
by MEAT&POULTRY Staff
LONDON — While the U.S. and its trading partners are getting acclimated to the U.S.’s new mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling rule, one of Great Britain’s environmental leaders is urging Europe to help its consumers learn where their food originates. Hilary Benn, British Labor politician, currently serving as the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Member of Parliament for the West Yorkshire constituency of Leeds Central, recently called on European supermarkets and food companies to give shoppers clearer information on where their food comes from.
Mr. Benn issued the call while urging people to "buy more British and eat more British", and he also stressed that protecting the environment is vital to increasing food production.
While the British government was pressing in Europe to improve labeling so it indicates where an animal is born, reared and slaughtered, Mr. Benn said he planned to meet with food-industry representatives to discuss how they could "get ahead here by voluntarily introducing country-of-origin labeling."
"When you buy a car, you know its service history," Mr. Benn said during the recently held Oxford Farming Conference. "When you buy a house, you get a detailed survey. So why do we accept knowing so much less about what we are putting into our bodies? Under current European regulations, a pork pie processed in Britain from Danish pork can legitimately be labeled as a British pie. That’s nonsense and it needs to change."
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