RESTAURANTS AND catering businesses in Scotland could be forced to tell people where their beef comes from, under new plans unveiled at the Royal Highland Show on Thursday Jun 23.
Scotland’s rural development minister, Ross Finnie, said the Scottish Executive planned to consult on whether restaurants should be required to tell customers about the origin of their beef.
And he hoped that, depending on the outcome of the consultation, the net could be cast wider to include most catering outlets, too.
“Consumers who buy beef in shops can clearly see where the meat comes from,” said Mr Finnie.
“We are actively promoting the Scottish red meat industry, and I believe diners should be told where the beef they eat comes from.”
He added: “A number of restaurants already provide information on the origin of their beef. We would like to see a duty to provide information extended to restaurants and the wider food service sector across Scotland.”
A consultation document is being prepared, following discussions with stakeholders. It will include the costs and benefits of country of origin labelling.
“While we see this as a means of extending choice to consumers and providing opportunities for producers, we need to be clear that the costs and benefits are warranted,” Mr Finnie said.
Although the EU Commission does not require the food service sector to indicate the country of origin of beef served to the public, it has left it open to member states to introduce the measure if they want, subject to EU approval.