Further mandatory origin labelling
The Commission has produced reports on the practicalities of and consumer attitude towards the mandatory indication of the origin of meat used as an ingredient. The reports do not make a recommendation but are for discussion with the Council and European Parliament. This could lead in due course to legislation requiring the labelling of the origin of meat whenever it is used as an ingredient in foods.
Further Commission reports are pledged by the FIC into making mandatory the origin labelling of the following foods:
- types of meat not already subject to a requirement
- milk used as an ingredient
- unprocessed or single ingredient foods
- ingredients representing more than 50% of a food
It is expected that the reports on milk as such and as an ingredient will be prioritised. Again, legislation could follow.
Where there are proven links between certain qualities of foods and their origins, the FIC allows Member States to introduce measures requiring origin labelling, where this would be valued by consumers. The UK has no plans in this area, and where such provisions are introduced they must not give rise to trade barriers.
Some foods are required, under product-specific legislation rather than the FIC, to be marked with origin indications. Such foods include unprocessed beef and beef products (a requirement introduced following the BSE crisis), prepacked poultrymeat from third countries, honey, fruit and vegetables, fish and virgin and extra-virgin olive oils. In many cases the rationale for this is the close link between the origin and the specific characteristics of the foods.