Origin labeling scaled back by EU
BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Commission has decided not to ask for full country-of-origin labeling from birth on all European Union meat products in the wake of the horsemeat scandal that broke earlier this year, according to the European Voice. Such labeling is currently only required for beef. The draft proposal would require labeling only for the last period of rearing and the country of slaughter.
Meat producers had voiced complaints that requiring full labeling from birth would be far too expensive and complicated. As a result, the commission's decision on the issue is set to be presented to a meeting of member state and industry representatives next week.
Since early this year, consumer groups have been insisting on full country-of-origin labeling for all meat products after horsemeat was uncovered in meat products labeled as beef throughout the EU at that time. Tests conducted by the EU after this discovery found horsemeat present in 5 percent of beef products tested throughout the EU.
The commission is preparing a review of EU food-chain legislation to strengthen controls and give the commission the ability to impose sanctions.
Meanwhile, European consumer organization BEUC indicated it is disappointed with what it has seen in the draft. “By giving up plans to label the origin of meat in sausages, lasagna and other meat-based processed foods, the European Commission has turned a blind eye to consumer's interests,” said Monique Goyens, BEUC director-general. “Our report, published just before the horsemeat scandal broke, clearly found that 70 percent of EU consumers want to know where their food comes from.”