8 August 2001
Check beef labelling, urges Union

By FWi staff

FARMERS leaders are urging producers to keep a check on all retailers labels on beef to make sure labelling regulations are being adhered to.

From last September, EU legislation required beef labelling to state the country in which the animal was slaughtered, and where the meat was cut.

But National Farmers Union members have widely reported seeing labels which breach these regulations.

Before the tighter labelling rules, it was possible for stock from one country to be passed off as produce from a second where it had been slaughtered or cut up.

NFU deputy president Tim Bennett has written to the Local Authorities Co-ordinating Body on Food and Trading Standards (LACOTS) stating concerns.

He said: “NFU members around the country have drawn our attention to breaches of the beef labelling regulations in a number of outlets.

“It is vital that all the necessary steps are taken to ensure that the legislation is properly enforced by trading standards officers.”

NFU food standards committee Chairman Michael Seals urged all farmers to detail breaches in writing and send them to their local trading standards office.

He said: “It is therefore galling to see that many of the retailers — and the enforcement organisations — are not taking these issues seriously.

“Retailers must be not be allowed to shirk their responsibility in this area.”

The EU labelling rules were also originally intended show whether the meat in retail packs came from a bull, steer, cow or calf.

But this was scrapped after farmers and the meat industry said that would add significantly to processing costs for little consumer benefit.

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