Clear consumer country of origin labelling for pork, chicken and lamb could soon become law after EU ministers gave the idea an overwhelming thumbs up today.

Sustained lobbying by the NFU saw the European Parliament’s environment and consumer protection committee vote in favour of country of origin labelling on meat, poultry, dairy, fresh fruit and veg and other single-ingredient products back in March.

That was followed by a yes vote from all MEPs in June.

And today’s ministerial vote brings country of origin labelling laws one step closer.

NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond said: “Clear, accurate country of origin labelling has remained high on the public agenda and has seen comprehensive coverage by the press – and rightly so. Shopping trends tell us consumers want to support British farmers and buy more home-grown and home-reared produce.

However the lack of transparency in labelling makes this difficult and it is clear to us that the current guidelines on food labelling simply aren’t working

“The NFU believes that labelling needs to provide accurate, clear and relevant information so consumers can make an informed choice. People buying meat and poultry products want to know where the animal was reared so they know exactly what they are eating. Consumers also want consistency in labelling across all sectors and they deserve not to be misled. Today’s political agreement is a big step in the right direction to achieving this.”

The text of today’s agreement reached by the Council will now be reviewed legally and linguistically before it is formally adopted at one of the forthcoming sessions as its ‘first-reading’ position.

The next stage of the process to making country of origin food labelling law is a second reading at the European Parliament expected in June 2011.

Click here for more nutrition and labelling news from the NFU.

Source: NFU-UK