In July 2011 the European Parliament voted to extend mandatory country of origin labelling to fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry. However, mandatory country of origin labelling still does not include foods where meat is an ingredient, such as sausages and ready meals. Therefore, it remains the case that sausages made in Britain using Danish pork can still legally be labelled as ‘British’.

The 2013 horsemeat scandal highlights the vital importance of clear food labelling, particularly with respect to processed meat products. Without clear labelling identifying the country of origin, British farmers and producers are not able to take advantage of the desire amongst the public to buy British products, support British farmers, and make informed choices on
issues of quality and animal welfare.

The introduction of legislation making it a legal requirement for the country of origin to be included on food containing meat would support British farmers and provide British consumers with greater choice and confidence.

Countryside Alliance calls for:

  • Mandatory country of origin food labelling to be introduced to ensure a level playing field for British farmers and allow consumers to make informed choices.
  • Single country labels for processed meat to mean that the animal was born, reared and slaughtered in that country.
  • Stringent country of origin labelling on all meat products to foster improved traceability, making it harder for unlabelled meat to enter the food chain.