Wednesday, 24 September 2014

CI Member BEUC campaigns for meat origin labelling

Monique Goyens, Director General of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), unveils the new EU consumer campaign aiming to demystify our meat’s origin.

When food shopping in the EU, you don’t enjoy the same level of origin information when you’re buying fresh or processed meat.

If you go for a fresh beef steak, you will know the animal’s comings and goings from farm to fork.

The reason is that ‘Country-Of-Origin Labelling’ (known as 'COOL') is compulsory for fresh beef in the EU. Food makers have to indicate the country of birth, rearing and slaughter.

If you’re more of a white meat fan, as of April 2015, you will know where the chicken from your fillet was bred and slaughtered, but not where it was born. The same goes for pork, sheep and goat meat.

But if you prefer processed meat such as ham, salami or ready-made lasagne, origin labels depend on the manufacturer’s goodwill. Regrettably there are still no EU plans to make origin labelling compulsory for meat in processed in foods.

Yet we do not want to believe the EU legislator will turn a deaf ear to the 90% of European consumers who want to know where their meat comes from.

As the EU Commission has yet to propose legislation making COOL compulsory for meat used as an ingredient, we decided to step up our demands by launching an EU-wide campaign in early September.

With it, we intend to turn the tide and finally make meat origin labels the norm on sausages, ham, nuggets or ready-meals.

Recall how consumers’ trust in meat was shaken following last year’s ‘Horsegate’ scandal when horsemeat was discovered in processed beef products in several EU Member States.

We are convinced making the meat supply chain more transparent can help restore this lost confidence.

While no silver bullet in combatting fraud, compulsory origin labelling of processed meat would oblige food manufacturers to keep a tighter grip on their suppliers.

In just three weeks, over 8,000 consumers supported our campaign on social media. And it’s not over.

With this figure – which we expect to grow – we will address the future European Commissioner for Food and Health so that COOL for processed meat becomes a priority on the EU food agenda.

We believe consumers want to know more about how and where their food - and especially meat - is produced. This is a global trend not a specific EU feature.

If like us you think consumers have the right to know where their meat comes from, there are two ways you can help spread the word on social media:

Like and share our animated slideshow on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn (available in 12 languages).

Post pictures of COOL labels on processed meat products using #meatorigin on social media. They will end up in our album to prove COOL is possible and should be the norm.

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