18 April 2000
All beef to show country of origin

By FWi staff

ALL beef sold in Europe will have to be labelled with its country of origin, European agriculture ministers meeting in Brussels have agreed.

A proposal calling for tighter controls on the labelling and traceability of beef was passed by MEPs at a meeting of the European Parliament last week.

It was endorsed by the European Farm Council on Tuesday (18 April). A spokesman said: “All member states will have to be separately identified.”

From 1 September, all beef in shops must show the identity number of the animal or herd, as well as the number and member state of the cutting hall.

The category of animal which the beef came from must also be shown.

A second stage of labelling regulations, which will show country of birth, will come into effect on 1 January, 2002, the agriculture ministers decided.

European Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler said that consumers would show a strong preference for beef from their own country.

“I do not see this as a threat to the internal EU market,” he said.

The regulation will now go back to various committees in Brussels for fine-tuning. It may require a second reading in the European Parliament.