Our Chief Executive Tim Bonner writes:
Rural issues have been at the forefront of debate in Parliament this week from Brexit and banking to fuel poverty, but one area which has been close to our heart and something we have campaigned on for many years was also raised: country of origin food labelling.
Following various food scares we know the British public are very concerned about the provenance of their food and the Countryside Alliance wants all meat products, including all products which have meat as an ingredient, to have full country of origin labelling so consumers can be confident about what they are eating and where it came from.
It was, therefore, disappointing to hear the Farming Minister George Eustice say that it would be hard to extend country of origin to all processed meats, not least because we do not accept that such a move would be difficult. Traceability is now an integral part of the food industry both to ensure food safety and assure welfare and environmental standards. Manufacturers know exactly what ingredients go into processed foods and exactly where they come from so proper labelling should be neither difficult nor expensive.
Until such labelling is made compulsory it will remain the case that sausages made in Britain from Danish pork can be legitimately labelled as British, because the meat has been processed in the UK. We believe food marked as British must come from British farmers and that the really hard task is arguing why this should not be the case.
As we begin negotiations to exit the EU it is has never been more important for clear and accurate food labelling to enable British farmers to compete fairly and give consumers the ability and confidence to ‘buy British’. We will continue to campaign for just that.
Follow Tim on Twitter @CA_TimB
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