MEPs call for clearer poultry labelling

Poultry meat that has been frozen and then thawed should not be described as “fresh”, according to the European Parliament.

In a report adopted yesterday (5 May), MEPs also expressed strong disapproval of the use of chemicals such as chlorine to decontaminate chicken carcasses.

The consultative report by Ilda Figueiredo, which received the backing of 546 MEPs, approves a draft regulation drawn up by the Commission aimed at adjusting EU rules on the marketing of poultry which date from 1990. The new regulation seeks to extend current rules to include poultry meat preparations and products, and poultry meat in brine, to reflect changing consumer habits.

MEPs agreed that only meat which has been kept at a temperature between -2C and +4C should be described as “fresh”.

Among their amendments, MEPs call for a compulsory indication on labels of the origin or source of the meat to enable consumers to make a properly informed choice. They also want it to be mandatory to indicate the date of slaughter of the bird.

MEPs also want to delete from the Commission’s draft regulation anything that might pave the way to allowing “chlorinated chicken” on the European market. They stress that meat intended for human consumption must have undergone no treatment other than refrigeration.

The Commission proposal was intended to make the EU definition of poultry meat more flexible, in line with its parallel plan to authorise four anti-microbe treatments – including chlorine – to decontaminate chicken carcasses for human consumption.

However, that plan was overwhelmingly opposed by the European Parliament and finally buried by the Council of Agriculture Ministers.

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