Agency aims for clearer food labels

3 December 2001

Agency aims for clearer food labels

By Isabel Davies

THE Food Standards Agency has launched a consultation aimed at introducing clearer rules for country-of-origin food labelling.

People expect that British meat is born, reared and slaughtered in the same country, said Rosemary Hignett of the FSAs food labelling division.

Ms Hignett said the FSA believed new legislation was needed to define when terms such as “produce of” could be used.

It is pushing for this at European Union and international level.

But in the meantime, the agency thought it had a role to play in getting manufacturers to adopt best practice, Ms Hignett said.

“It does seem to me that we need to change the rules and adopt best practice,” she told a meeting in London on Monday (3 December).

The consultation paper says consumers are interested in country of origin on items such as meat so manufacturers should provide this where possible.

The words “produce of” should only be used where all significant ingredients are from the country concerned and also processed there.

Bacon or ham made in Britain using Danish pork should be “imported Danish pork cured/baked/roasted in Britain” and not “British bacon.”

Butter churned in England from Belgian milk should be “produced in England from imported Belgian Milk” and not “produced in England”.

The only exception to this would be for products like chocolate where ingredients like cocoa beans cannot come from the country in question.

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