Consumers should find it easier to buy British meat after European MPs agreed to extend country of origin rules.

Following a vote at the European Parliament on Wednesday (6 July), fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry will have to be labelled to show which country it came from.

Under the agreement, which will come into force from 2015, the European Commission must also look at extending labelling rules to cover meat used as an ingredient in processed food.

Within the next three years it also has to consider whether other types of meat, as well as fresh milk, milk used as an ingredient and foods containing more than 50% meat or milk should be covered.

The NFU said the decision to extend the labelling rules was a significant move to give consumers clear and honest information about the origins of their food.

“With mandatory country of origin labelling finally extended to lamb, pork and poultry, all British consumers will at last know where their fresh meat comes from,” said Meurig Raymond, NFU deputy president.

“There is more work to be done to make sure origin labelling is extended to processed meats and dairy products.

“Although there has been some significant progress made by many retailers and manufacturers in the UK to improve their labelling voluntarily, it is still not universal and consumers are still being confused and misled.

“We will continue to push hard for mandatory country of origin labelling on processed meat and dairy products.”