Opinion Former Article

Countryside Alliance welcomes European Parliament vote to introduce mandatory country of origin labelling on fresh meat

Today MEPs voted on the Provision of Food Information to Consumers which sets out rules on labelling for the food and drink industry in the EU; the Countryside Alliance – the leading voice of rural Britain – welcomes the vote to introduce mandatory country of origin on fresh meat, this will see an end to the unfair practice of labelling imported meat as ‘British’. However, we are disappointed that the regulations do not go further and include foods where meat is an ingredient, such as sausages and ready meals. Sausages made in Britain using Danish pork can still be legitimately be labelled as ‘British’. We will continue the fight to ensure all meat products are covered by these regulations.

The Countryside Alliance Foundation last week released a landmark report into the current situation when it comes to food labelling in Britain. A YouGov poll found that 47 per cent of people look at the country of origin on a food label, more than double the number (22%) who look at nutritional information. In addition 74 per cent of people thought it important that the meat products they buy have a British origin.

The full report ‘Honest Fair Simple: The Countryside Alliance Foundation Campaign for Clear Labelling’ is available by clicking here: http://www.countryside-alliance-foundation.org/file/Food_labelling_report_TCAF.pdf

Alice Barnard, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance: “Consumers, UK farmers and producers are today celebrating the decision by the European Parliament to introduce mandatory country of origin labelling on fresh meat. This will provide consumers with honest labelling, give them confidence in the meat they buy and ensure a fairer deal for farmers. However, the great British banger is still exempt from these rules, as products containing meat will not have to state the country of origin. We will continue our fight for an honest, fair and simple label which supports our hard working British farmers and ensures the British public is not misled.”

Tim Farron MP, President of the Liberal Democrats: “I welcome the Countryside Alliance’s campaign on country of origin meat labelling. I have long championed honest food labelling as British farmers, who farm to some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, need a labelling system which enables people to make an informed choice and support our great British food.”


Notes to Editors

1. Meat labelling campaign

The Countryside Alliance Foundation has long been concerned about the ambiguity surrounding meat labelling, so much so that the adoption of a mandatory country of origin labelling framework was a key plank of the Countryside Alliance Rural Manifesto published in 2009 (to view the manifesto in full please click here).

2. About the polling

All polling figures are from YouGov Plc (full poll break-down of poll available by clicking here). Total sample size was 2,799 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th-12th May 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

3. The Countryside Alliance Foundation

The Countryside Alliance Foundation is a charity set up to co-operate with the Countryside Alliance to build on the element of Alliance work that has always been inherently charitable. This includes educating the public about the countryside, promoting agriculture and helping to protect the natural environment.

Through an exciting new portfolio of education resources, community projects and research initiatives, the charity intends to introduce people to the importance and diversity of the countryside.

4. About the Countryside Alliance

With over 100,000 members the Countryside Alliance defends and promotes country sports and rural life at Parliament, in the media and on the ground.

The Countryside Alliance believes a vibrant countryside needs five key changes and calls on the Government to:

SERVICES – Ensure an accessible and reliable rural transport and broadband network

HOUSING – Promote local solutions to the lack of affordable rural housing

EDUCATION – Enable all children to gain a practical understanding of the countryside

FARMING – Support British farmers and producers

COUNTRY PURSUITS – Repeal the Hunting Act and champion country pursuits

For more information or to arrange interviews please call the Countryside Alliance press office on 0207 840 9220 or 07500 834 163

Countryside Alliance
The Old Town Hall
367 Kennington Road
London SE11 4PT

020 7840 9200

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