Meat used in processed foods such as lasagne should be labelled by country of origin as is already the case with bovine fresh meat, say MEPs.
In a vote passed in the European Parliament sitting in Strasbourg on Wednesday (11 February), MEPs called on the European Commission to enshrine the proposal in law.
They said it would help rebuild consumer confidence in the wake of the 2013 horsemeat scandal and other food fraud cases.
The resolution, passed by 460 votes to 204 with 33 abstentions, urged the commission to follow up its 2013 report on country-of-origin labelling with legislative proposals to make it mandatory to state the country of origin of meat used in processed foods.
After the vote, Conservative MEP Julie Girling, who championed the labelling laws, hit out at Ukip on Twitter.
She tweeted: “In EP today Ukip MEPs failed to vote for country-of-origin labelling on processed meats. No support for our farmers from Ukip.”
MEPs said the laws would ensure more transparency throughout the food chain, better inform European consumers and help rebuild their confidence.
They also reiterated their concern over the potential effect of food fraud on food safety, consumer confidence and health, the functioning of the food chain and farm produce prices.
MEPs pointed out that the European Commission’s report into country-of-origin labelling itself acknowledges that more than 90% of consumer respondents consider it important that meat origin should be labelled on processed food products.
This is one of the several factors influencing consumer behaviour, MEPs said.
Depending on the member state, 30-50% of slaughtered meat is processed into meat ingredients for foodstuffs, mostly minced meat, meat preparations and meat product.